Former President Bill Clinton and chat show host Oprah Winfrey were among the recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom award today.
President Obama presented the award to 16 prominent Americans during a ceremony at the White House.
The award, regarded as the nation's highest civilian decoration, was established by John F Kennedy less than a year before his death.
Obama said the ceremony was one his favourite events of the year, and claimed this year's ceremony was "just a little more special" as it is 50 years since President Kennedy created the award.
President Obama will be joined by Bill and Hilary Clinton at a ceremony at Kennedy's grave site later on tonight as the nation prepares to honour the President's legacy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.
Former US President Bill Clinton may be better known for playing the saxophone than his singing, but thanks to YouTube user baracksdubs that could be a thing of the past.
Thanks to some clever editing, Clinton has taken on one of the sounds of the summer, Robin Thicke's controversial hit Blurred Lines.
It is not the first time baracksdubs has got creative with a President and a chart topper - previous clips include Barack Obama singing Daft Punk's Get Lucky, LMFAO's Sexy and I Know It and Carly Rae Jepson's Call Me Maybe.
President Barack Obama is to bestow America's highest civilian honour on Oprah Winfrey and former president Bill Clinton.
The pair will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a ceremony at the White House later this year.
The medal is presented to individuals 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 endeavours."
Ms Winfrey and Mr Clinton will join 14 other recipients, including activist Gloria Steinem and former senator Richard Lugar. Also being honoured is Ben Bradlee, the editor who oversaw Washington Post coverage of Watergate.
Former senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii and Sally Ride, the first woman astronaut in space, will receive the medals posthumously.
President John F Kennedy created the medal of freedom in an executive order signed 50 years ago. The White House says more than 500 people have been presented with the honour to date.
President Barack Obama has praised George W Bush at the dedication of the former president's library for showing strength and resolve in the days after the September 11 attacks and said if Congress passes immigration reform "it will be in large part thanks to the hard work" of his predecessor.
Mr Obama spoke along with all four living former presidents in a rare reunion honouring one of their own at the opening of the George W Bush Presidential Centre.
Mr Bush, the country's 43rd president, gave a closing speech with tears welling in his eyes."My deepest conviction, the guiding principle of the administration, is that the United States of America must strive to expand the reach of freedom," Mr Bush said.
"I believe that freedom is a gift from God and the hope of every human heart."