Outgoing US president Barack Obama has awarded comedian Ellen DeGeneres with a Presidential Medal of Freedom. And his speech to the talk show host and Finding Dory star has left us feeling all the feels and reflecting on why the celebration was just so important.
Taking time out from his transition meetings with president-elect Donald Trump, Obama awarded 21 iconic Americans with the medals during a White House ceremony on Tuesday, but even with big names like Tom Hanks and Robert De Niro in the room, it was DeGeneres, and the speech given in her honour, that truly stole the show.
"It's easy to forget now when we've come so far, where now marriage is equal under the law, just how much courage was required for Ellen to come out on the most public of stages 20 years ago," 55-year-old Obama began.
"Just how important it was, not just to the LGBT community but for all of us to see somebody so full of kindness and light, somebody we liked so much - somebody who could be our neighbour or our colleague or our sister - challenge us on our assumptions; remind us that we have more in common than we realise, push our country in the direction of justice. What an incredible burden that was to bear," he continued. "To risk your career like that - people don't do that very often."