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President Trump awards Medal of Freedom to Babe Ruth, Elvis Presley, Antonin Scalia, and others

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President Donald Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously to baseball legend Babe Ruth. Ruth's grandson Thomas Stevens accepted the award during a ceremony at the White House. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Babe Ruth, Elvis Presley, and five others during a ceremony Friday afternoon at the White House.

The award honors individuals "who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors," according to the White House.

“It’s a great honor," Trump said. "Melania and I are thrilled to welcome you to the White House as we honor the recipients of our nation’s highest civilian honor.”

Ruth's grandson, Thomas Stevens, accepted the award for the late baseball player who's still considered one of the greatest of all time. Ruth died in 1948.

Presley's award was accepted by Jack Soden, the president and CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises. The White House described the late King of Rock 'n' Roll an “enduring American icon." Presley died in 1977.

Also, honored posthumously was the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia who died in 2016. Trump described Scalia as “one of the greatest jurists ever to serve our country.”

“Universally admired for his towering intellect, brilliant wit and fierce devotion to our founding principles, Justice Scalia has made a deep and lasting impact on the history of our nation," Trump said.

Scalia's award was received by his widow Maureen Scalia.

Who else was awarded?

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah received the award. The 84-year-old is retiring at the end of this legislative session.

“He liked me right from the beginning and therefore I like him,” Trump said humorously. “That's the way it is. I'm not supposed to say it, but that's the way life goes.”

Roger Staubach, 76, who played quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, and Alan Page, 73, who played defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings, became the first professional football players to be awarded the Medal of Freedom.

“Roger, you inspire Americans across the country to work hard, dream big, and always push on to victory,” Trump said.

Both of the former athletes were recognized for their charitable work.

Doctor, philanthropist, GOP donor, and humanitarian Miriam Adelson also received the award.

It was Trump's first time to award the Medal of Freedom, which was established in 1945 by President Harry S. Truman.

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