Elton John Honoured By US President Joe Biden
Elton John was moved to tears Friday night when U.S. president Joe Biden surprised him by with a National Humanities Medal.
Biden said it was “my great honour” to present the award to John during a special concert at the White House.
White House military aide Major Bill Yang read the citation: “The President of the United States awards this National Humanities Medal to Sir Elton John for moving our souls with his powerful voice, one of the defining songbooks of all time. An enduring icon and advocate with absolute courage, who found purpose to challenge convention, shatter stigma and advance a simple truth: that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.”
John said he was “flabbergasted” by the presidential recognition. “I’m never flabbergasted, but I’m flabbergasted and humbled and honoured by this incredible award from the United States of America,” he said. “I will treasure this so much.
“Your kindness – America’s kindness to me as a musician – is second to none. But in the war against AIDS and HIV, it’s even bigger. And I can’t thank you enough. I’m really emotional about this.”
During his set, John spoke about his eponymous foundation and the progress it has made towards his goal of eradicating AIDS by 2030. “We can do it,” he said, “and we will.” The 75-year-old singer credited former president George W. Bush for his “astonishing” efforts to fight HIV and AIDS.
In 2019, French president Emmanuel Macron named John a chevalier of the Legion of Honour. In his native England, the singer was made a Companion of the Order of the British Empire in 1995, knighted by the Queen in 1998 and appointed Member of the Order of Companions of Honour in 2020.
Listen to music from Elton John