In Emotional Goodbye, Obama Awards Biden America’s Highest Honor
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom – America's highest civilian honor.
U.S. President Barack Obama surprised Biden with the award Thursday during an emotional ceremony at the White House.
Obama announced the award after praising Biden for his years of service, calling him "the finest vice president we have ever seen."
Biden appeared shocked at the announcement, which he said Obama and others inside the White House had kept secret. After hearing the award was about to be presented, Biden briefly turned away from the cameras to clear some tears.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is America's highest award for civilians. Obama has awarded the medal to others during his presidency. But he explained that Biden's award carried an additional level of distinction that he has never given out before.
Obama said this highest-level award was only given to three individuals by the three presidents that served before him. Those individuals were Pope John Paul II, former President Ronald Reagan and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
In his tribute to Biden, Obama said that from the very start, he never regretted choosing him as his right-hand man.
"He was the best possible choice, not just for me, but for the American people."
Obama said Biden's advice on many issues had made him a better president. He called the vice president "a lion of American history."
"To know Joe Biden is to know love without pretense, service without self-regard and to live life fully."
Both men said that during Obama's eight-year term, the two had developed a relationship that went far beyond their work. Many extended members of the Obama and Biden families also became close personal friends.
After Obama placed the medal around his neck, Biden thanked him and then reflected on his term as vice president.
He said he greatly valued being trusted by Obama in "every single thing you've asked me to do." He said he always found it easy working for and with Obama, for whom he said he had the highest level of respect.
"I've never known a president - and few people I've ever met - who have had the integrity and the decency and the sense of other people's needs like you do."
Biden said he hopes to always be able to look back and say, "I was part of the journey of a remarkable man who did remarkable things for this country."
He noted that even though he felt he may not deserve the medal, he knew "it came from the President's heart."
"Mr. President, you know as long as there's a breath in me, I'll be there for you, my whole family will be. And I know, I know it is reciprocal."
Obama gave his farewell speech as president on Tuesday in his hometown of Chicago. He will leave the White House on January 20, when President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in.
I'm Bryan Lynn.
1.sworn in 宣誓就职
She was sworn in as head of an interim government in March.
2.farewell speech 告别演讲
His farewell speech marked his exit from politics.
3.as long as 只要
You can phone me at work as long as you don't make a habit of it.
4.look back 回顾
Looking back, I am staggered how easily it was all arranged.
1.Biden appeared shocked at the announcement, which he said Obama and others inside the White House had kept secret.
kept secret 保密
They had given an absolute assurance that it would be kept secret.
The exact locations are being kept secret for reasons of security.
2.In his tribute to Biden, Obama said that from the very start, he never regretted choosing him as his right-hand man.
right-hand man 得力助手；左膀右臂
I would like to have a right-hand man on my work and my life.
If you have a right-hand man on work, you will be light.
美国副总统乔·拜登（Joe Biden）获得了美国最高的平民荣誉——美国总统自由勋章 。
拜登对此颇感震惊，他说奥巴马和白宫工作人员未曾向他透露这一消息 。而听到授勋消息后的拜登快速转身背对着镜头试泪 。
总统自由勋章是美国最高的平民荣誉 。奥巴马在任期内也曾把该勋章颁发给其他人 。但是他解释说，拜登获得的这枚杰出总统自由勋章是他第一次颁发 。
奥巴马表示，此前只有三位总统给三人颁发过这一最高级别的荣誉勋章 。三人分别为教皇约翰·保罗二世（Pope John Paul II）、前总统罗纳德·里根（Ronald Reagan）和前国务卿科林·鲍威尔（Colin Powell） 。
奥巴马表示，在很多问题上，拜登的建议使他成为更好的总统 。他称拜登是“美国历史的雄狮” 。
两人都表示称，在奥巴马八年的执政期间，他们磨合出一种远超工作伙伴的亲密关系 。奥巴马和拜登家人也都成了密友 。
他说，他极度看重被奥巴马在每件让他做的事情上的信任 。他说，他一直觉得跟奥巴马一起工作非常轻松，他也非常尊重奥巴马 。
“总统先生，你知道只要我还活着，我会一直伴你左右，我的全家也会全力支持你 。我知道你亦如此 。”
周二，奥巴马家乡芝加哥市发表了告别演说 。他将于1月20日卸任，届时候任总统川普将宣誓就职 。