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Yogi Berra to be Honored with Presidential Medal of Freedom

PATERSON, NJ - Rep. Pascrell: Legendary Yankee to Receive Highest Civilian Honor [November 16, 2015]

President Barack Obama named Yogi Berra, a pillar in our community in northern New Jersey, to the list of those to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award of the United States.

“We have always been proud to call him one of our own, and today the nation joins with us,” said U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09). “Yogi was an iconic American hero, not only as a ballplayer and champion, but as a citizen. He served during the D-Day invasion of France, he befriended Jackie Robinson and Lou Castro, the first black and Latino ballplayers, and he championed LGBT rights in sports. Thank you to President Obama for recognizing Yogi, and the other deserving honorees as well, with this prestigious award.”

In May, Pascrell urged his support for Berra in two letters to President Obama, including one bipartisan letter with 35 cosigners, citing the New Jersey native’s many accomplishments on and off the field, including his military service and civil rights and educational activism. In September, Berra passed away at the age of 90.

“Berra is one of the most respected baseball minds of all time, a man of unimpeachable integrity and respect,” Pascrell wrote. “As a champion and hero in more ways than can be counted, Berra is an American icon who is deserving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

“I only wish Yogi was here to celebrate the news,” Pascrell said today. “He said himself, ‘If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be,’ but today, it’d be close.”

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