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Poet Maya Angelou, civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. and Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell are among the 2010 winners of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

President Barack Obama will present the awards to the 15 honorees early next year, the White House announced Wednesday.

Other winners include President George H.W. Bush and investor Warren Buffett, plus St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer Stan “The Man” Musial, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

The medal is presented to people who have made notable contributions to U.S. interests, from cultural achievements to security matters.

Obama said. “I look forward to awarding them this honor.”

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