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In recognition of his legendary work that lives on, Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs received the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a civilian in the United States this week, as U.S. President Joe Biden posthumously awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In a ceremony held yesterday at the White House, Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, received the medal from President Biden on Jobs’ behalf. During his opening speech, President Biden praised Steve Jobs not only for his work but also for his character, his legacy, and his family’s ongoing work in striving to end cancer.
“We’ve already seen more technical changes in the last 10 years than almost ever before in history. We’re going to see a lot more change in the next 10 years, and much much more of that is because of Steve Jobs. Not just because of his innovations and inventions that revolutionized personal computing and our way of life. It’s for his embodiment of the core American character that he believed was within each of us. Character that got tested in setback and failure. Character that’s true in perseverance and daring. Character defined by what we leave on this earth when our time comes, and what Steve left us was is something special technology with the capacity to improve our lives in ways that haven’t even yet been thought of, and the love of his family, Lorraine Powell Jobs, and their children who I had the great honor of working with when I was doing the cancer moonshot in the previous administration. They carry on this incredible legacy of doing big things, perhaps the biggest of all helping us end cancer as we know it, because it matters. It matters to people who need help is why they do it and it mattered to Steve Jobs.”
– U.S. President Joe Biden
During the presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Laurene Powell Jobs, the announcer summarized the Apple co-founder’s life, calling him a “true visionary and beloved husband and father.”
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“Few people in history embody the American spirit of innovation like Steve Jobs. The adopted son of high-school-educated parents, he redeemed soda bottles to pay for his meals after dropping out of college. At every turn of life, he dared to think different. As the co-founder of Apple, he created one of the most important companies in history, bringing computing into homes and phones and revolutionizing our way of life. A true visionary, a beloved husband and father, Steve Jobs embodied that most American of questions: What’s next?“
The White House press release on the announcement also noted Jobs’ role in transforming not only computing but also the music and film industries through his roles at Pixar and Disney.
Steve Jobs (d. 2011) was the co-founder, chief executive, and chair of Apple, Inc., CEO of Pixar and held a leading role at the Walt Disney Company. His vision, imagination and creativity led to inventions that have, and continue to, change the way the world communicates, as well as transforming the computer, music, film and wireless industries.The White House
Apple CEO Tim Cook also weighed in after the ceremony, talking about how Jobs challenged everyone around him to “see the world not for what it is, but for what it could be” and promised to “continue building on his legacy.”
Steve Jobs officially resigned as CEO of Apple on August 24, 2011, passing the helm of the company over to Tim Cook, who was Chief Operating Officer (COO) at that time. While Apple’s Board of Directors resurrected the long-vacant Chairman of the Board position to install Steve Jobs in that capacity, it was short-lived. Six weeks later, on October 5, 2011, Steve Jobs lost his battle with pancreatic cancer and passed away.
Last fall, Apple celebrated Jobs’ legacy on the 10th anniversary of his death with a touching video highlighting his work and influence on the company. This week’s Presidential Medal of Freedom cements Jobs’ legacy as a person who has made a serious impact on the world around him.
As the White House describes it, the Presidential Medal of Freedom is “presented to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors.”
Including Jobs, a total of 17 people received this prestigious award during the ceremony, including Denzel Washington, and former Senator John McCain, along with Simone Biles, Sister Simone Campbell, Julieta García, Gabrielle Giffords, Fred Gray, Father Alexander Karloutsos, Khizr Khan, Sandra Lindsay, Diane Nash, Megan Rapinoe, Alan Simpson, Richard Trumka, Wilma Vaught, and Raúl Yzaguirre.