Ellen DeGeneres broke into tears when she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Ellen degeneres presidential medal of freedomGetty/Alex WongEllen DeGeneres with President Obama.

The INSIDER Summary:

• Ellen DeGeneres was just given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honour for US civilians. 
• She was visibly emotional during the ceremony.
• Video of the sweet moment has quickly racked up nearly a million views.

On Tuesday afternoon, a group of 21 athletes, actors, musicians, philanthropists gathered at the White House to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom. It’s the highest honour a US civilian can hold, and this year’s list of honorees is stacked with inspirational Americans, including Michael Jordan, Bill and Melinda Gates, Diana Ross, and Tom Hanks, ABC News reports.

Comedian Ellen DeGeneres also received the award — and she could hardly contain her emotion as she stepped up to be honored at the ceremony. DeGeneres’s eyes welled up as an announcer gave the following speech and President Obama placed the medal around her neck: 

“In a career spanning three decades, Ellen DeGeneres has lifted our spirits and brought joy to our lives as a stand-up comic, actor, and television star. In every role, she reminds us to be kind to one another, and to treat people as each of us wants to be treated. At a pivotal moment, her courage and candor helped change the hearts and minds of millions of Americans, accelerating our nation’s constant drive for equality and acceptance for all. Again and again, Ellen DeGeneres has shown us that a single individual can make the world a more fun, more open, more loving place, so long as we just keep swimming.”

The last line, of course, is a reference to DeGeneres’s role as the voice of Dory in “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory.” But even more heartwarming is mention of her “courage and candor” — presumably referencing her decision to publicly come out as gay back in 1997  —  and how it’s helped advance the acceptance of the LGBT community in America. 

Watch the heartwarming video from ABC News right here:

POTUS Awards Ellen DeGeneres With Medal of Freedom
Pres. Barack Obama presents award-winning comedian Ellen DeGeneres with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. “Just keep swimming.” http://abcn.ws/2fmjqL6
Posted by ABC News on Tuesday, November 22, 2016

NOW WATCH: Adele explained to Ellen exactly what happened with her Grammy performance

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.