Philly Sports Live

2012 Liberty Medal Recap

On Thursday September 13, 2012 the City of Philadelphia celebrated two big events surrounding the US Constitution, the 1st thing is this year the National Constitution Center was celebrating the U.S. Constitution’s 225thanniversary. The second thing was that the champion of freedom, Muhammad Ali received the National Constitution Center’s 2012 Liberty Medal. Muhammad Ali is the 1st Athlete to receive the Liberty Medal. The list of people who has received the liberty medal includes the following:

  • 2011: Dr. Robert M. Gates, former U.S. Secretary of Defense
  • 2010: Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister
  • 2009: Steven Spielberg
  • 2008: Mikhail Gorbachev, former Soviet leader
  • 2007: Bono and DATA
  • 2006: George H.W. Bush & Bill Clinton, former U.S. Presidents
  • 2004: Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan
  • 2003: Sandra Day O’Connor, Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court
  • 2002: Colin Powell, U.S. Secretary of State
  • 2001: Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General
  • 1993: Nelson Mandela, President of the African National Congress
  • 1990: Jimmy Carter, former U.S. President
  • The 1st Person to Receive Liberty Medal in 1989: Lech Walesa, founder of Solidarity, Poland

The Day began with a Panel Discussion called Athletics, Competition & Social Justice which Featured Lonnie & Laila Ali, Former 76ers Center Dikembe Mutombo, and 2012 Olympic Champions Claressa Shields & Susan Francia. During this panel discussion, Laila Ali said this very important thing: ” when you’re in the Public Life you have a Responsibility as a Role Model to Others” the evening part was the headline event, the event gets started when Channel 6 Action News Anchorman Jim Gardner Welcomed everyone that was watching the ceremony on WPVI-TV/6abc, The Host of the 2012 Liberty Medal was ABC News David Muir, The Girard Academic Music Program Choir performed the National Anthem, there were speeches by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Pennsylvania Governor Thomas Corbett, Joe Louis Barrow, II who is the son of professional boxer Joe Louis, Academy Award-nominated actor Terrence Howard, National Constitution Center Trustee, basketball star, and humanitarian Dikembe Mutombo. Muhammad Ali Daughter Laila Ali Presented the 2012 Liberty Medal to her Father. The event ended with internationally acclaimed songstress Roberta Flack performing “The Impossible Dream.”

This was an historic & once in a lifetime event to take part in, during one of the speeches that was given at the ceremony, Dikembe Mutombo said to the crowd at the National Constitution Center about Muhammad Ali “Muhammad Ali changed my life”. There was two bone chilling & emotional moments that stood out during the ceremony, the first one was Joe Louis Son Joe Louis Barrow, II got very emotional in talking about Muhammad Ali & telling a story about Ali being at his father’s funeral and being there for him, and saying that his father & Ali being mentioned in the same breath as the champs, that was very emotional for Joe Louis Barrow ll to do. The second bone chilling moment from the ceremony was Laila Ali Presenting the Liberty Medal to her father & for a few Moments you can see Muhammad Ali looking at the Medal & it started to get very emotional just seeing that. Overall this was an amazing event to be on hand for the U.S. Constitution’s 225thanniversary & Muhammad Ali receiving the Liberty Medal. Below are some Quotes from Chair of the National Constitution Center President Bill Clinton & National Constitution Center President and CEO David Eisner

President Bill Clinton who is the Chair of the National Constitution Center “It is very fitting that Muhammad Ali, a representative for the bicentennial of the Constitution, be awarded the prestigious Liberty Medal in 2012, as the nation celebrates the 225thanniversary of our founding document,” Clinton would also go on to say Ali embodies the spirit of the Liberty Medal by embracing the ideals of the Constitution – freedom, self-governance, equality, and empowerment –and helping to spread them across the globe.”

National Constitution Center President and CEO David Eisner “Muhammad Ali symbolizes all that makes America great, while pushing us as a people and as a nation to be better. Each big fight of his life has inspired a new chapter of civic action. We are honored to welcome him back to the Center, particularly during this momentous 225th anniversary year.”

Below is My Interview that I did with 2012 Olympic Gold Medal Winner in Women’s Boxing Claressa Shields

Some Pictures from the Event:

Muhammad Ali Receives Liberty Medal from Laila Ali:

Muhammad Ali Emotional with the Liberty Medal:

Academy Award Actor Terrence Howard:

2012 Olympic Champions Claressa Shields & Susan Francia at Panel Discussion:

Lonnie & Laila Ali at Panel Discussion: