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Obama gives Medal of Valor to 13 heroes who were ‘just doing their job’

In our NewsHour Shares moment of the day, President Obama honored 13 law enforcement officers, including one who was killed in the line of duty, the Medal of Valor at the White House for their exceptional courage in the face of great danger. The award is the highest decoration an American public safety officer can receive.

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  •  HARI SREENIVASAN:

    And finally tonight, our "NewsHour" Shares, something that caught our eye that might be of interest to you, too.

    President Obama honored 13 law enforcement officers at the White House today with the Medal of Valor. The award recognizes those who exhibited exceptional courage in the face of great danger to protect others.

    One by one, President Obama bestowed the day's medals on those whose acts where not only brave, but instinctive. Los Angeles police officer Donald Thompson suffered first- and second-degree burns pulling an unconscious victim from a burning car. Officers Jason Salas and Robert Sparks and Captain Raymond Bottenfield ended a deadly shooting rampage at Santa Monica College.

    And Philadelphia Police Sergeant Robert Wilson III gave his life to protect innocent customers and employees during a video store robbery. His wife accepted the medal on his behalf. But all 13, the president said, went above and beyond the call of duty.

  • PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    In all of these places in each of these moments, these officers were true to their oaths.

    To a person, each of these honorees acted without regard for their own safety. They stood up to dangerous individuals brandishing assault rifles, handguns and knives. Each of them will tell you very humbly the same thing: They were just doing their jobs. They were doing what they had to do, what they were trained to do, like on any other day.

    We want you to know we could not be prouder of you and we couldn't be prouder of your families for all the contributions that you make.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    President Obama signed a package of bills aimed at protecting and honoring public safety officers into law shortly before the ceremony.

    And that's the "NewsHour" for tonight.

    On Tuesday, we explore the growing problem of harassment of Muslim-American students in U.S. public schools.

    I'm Hari Sreenivasan

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And I'm Judy Woodruff.

    Join us online and again right here tomorrow evening. For all of us at the "PBS NewsHour," thank you, and good night.

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