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Bush bestows civilian awards

President Bush on Thursday presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, to leaders in medicine, government, the judiciary and the military.

The Medal of Freedom is given to those deemed to have made remarkable contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, culture, or other private or public endeavors.

This year's recipients:

Dr. Benjamin Carson

In 1987, he performed the world's first successful operation separating twins joined at the back of the head. He is director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore.

Dr. Anthony Fauci

An adviser to the government on global AIDS issues, he is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Former Rep. Tom Lantos

The Holocaust survivor, who died of cancer in February, was a Democrat from California who was chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He is remembered as a champion of human rights. Bush recalled Lantos' remarks as he announced his retirement from Congress. “His words were not of despair, but of gratitude for a nation that had given him so much,” Bush said. “‘Only in America could a penniless survivor of the Holocaust receive an education, raise a family and have the privilege of serving in the Congress.'”

Retired Marine Gen. Peter Pace

One of the Iraq war's military architects, Pace retired last year as 16th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and first Marine to hold the post.

Donna Shalala

Health and human services secretary under President Clinton and now president of the University of Miami, she helped lead a presidential commission charged with getting wounded military veterans better health care.

Laurence Silberman

Appointed by President Reagan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, he helped lead a presidential commission investigating flawed intelligence about Iraq's prewar weapons of mass destruction.

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