Bill and Melinda Gates honored with Presidential Medal of Freedom

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President Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 21 recipients today.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded to American citizens 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."

Three of the award winners have ties to the technology industry, including:

Other notable recipients include Ellen DeGeneres, Tom Hanks, Michael Jordan, Robert Redford, Diana Ross and Bruce Springsteen. Click here to read the full list of recipients.

The awards will be given at the White House on Nov. 22.

"The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation's highest civilian honor — it's a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better," President Obama said.

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