When Elton John dropped by the White House on Friday to perform at an event on the South Lawn, he was surprised by a special gift from President Biden: the National Humanities Medal.
Elton performed at A Night When Hope and History Rhyme, an event organized in collaboration with The History Channel and A+E Networks. In addition to celebrating the healing power of music, the event paid tribute to Elton’s philanthropic work, as well as his musical achievements.
“On behalf of the American people, thank you — and I sincerely mean this — for moving the soul of the nation,” the president told Elton.
Elton entertained the crowd with favorites like “Your Song,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Rocket Man,” “I’m Still Standing,” and “Crocodile Rock,” a favorite of the Biden family. He also spoke about his work with his Elton John AIDS Foundation, praising the American people and the U.S. government for their generosity in helping him in his fight to eradicate the disease.
But Elton was shocked when Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden presented him with the Medal, given to people those “activities, contributions, and achievements have significantly enriched the educational, intellectual, and cultural life of the nation.”
“I said to the First Lady, I’m never flabbergasted but I’m flabbergasted. And humbled,” said Elton. “It will make me double my efforts to make sure this disease [AIDS] goes away.”
On Instagram, he wrote, “There is so much more to be done to reach the most vulnerable communities – thank you to everyone who has joined and supported us so far on our mission to make sure no one is left behind.“
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