Barack and Michelle Obama have returned from their well-deserved vacation and they’re already rolling up their sleeves to get back to work. The couple has maintained a relatively low profile as they launch the Obama Foundation, but they returned to the spotlight on Sunday for a wonderful reason. President Obama is this year’s recipient of the Kennedy Foundation’s “Profile in Courage” Award, which is presented at a ceremony in Boston.
The annual award is named after President Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, which told the stories of eight senators who risked their careers by taking unpopular but noble stances.
One of the main reasons Obama was named the 2017 recipient is due to his passage of the Affordable Care Act — the foundation praised him for expanding healthcare access to millions of Americans. It’s undoubtedly a bittersweet moment, given the events of the past week — the House of Representatives narrowly voted to repeal Obamacare and the bill faces an uncertain future in Senate.
In addition the expansion of health care security, the foundation also cited Obama’s achievements in "restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba, and leading a landmark international accord to combat climate change" as reasons he was chosen as this year’s recipient. Obama was also lauded for putting "policy above politics."
The "Profile in Courage Award" was created in 1989 to “recognize and celebrate the quality of political courage that [Kennedy] admired most.” Each year, the bipartisan committee selects public officials serving at federal, state, or local levels.
"President Kennedy called on a new generation of Americans to give their talents to the service of the country," Caroline Kennedy stated on Sunday. "With exceptional dignity and courage, President Obama has carried that torch into our own time, providing young people of all backgrounds with an example they can emulate."
Obama isn’t the first president to receive the “Profile in Courage” award. The honor has also been bestowed upon former presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush.