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Biden Gives Elton John the National Humanities Medal

(Headline USAThe White House South Lawn was transformed into a musical lovefest Friday night as Elton John played a farewell gig to honor everyday “heroes” like teachers, nurses and AIDS activists. But as it turns out, the event was also to honor the 75-year-old British songwriter — President Joe Biden surprised him with the National Humanities Medal.

John seemed almost overcome by the accolades, telling the audience of 2,000 people: “I don’t know what to say. … I don’t know how to take a compliment very well but it’s wonderful to be here amongst so many people who have helped my AIDS foundation and my heroes, that ones that work day to day on the front line.”

The intimate guest list included teachers, nurses, frontline workers and homosexual activists, plus former first lady Laura Bush, civil rights advocate Ruby Bridges, education activist Malala Yousafzai and Jeanne White-Ginder, an AIDS activist and mother of Ryan White, who died from AIDS-related complications in 1990.

The event was dreamed up and paid for by A+E and the History Channel.

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Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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