Elton John was honored with a National Humanities Medal from President Joe Biden during his White House performance on Friday night (Sept. 23.)
Biden presented the award saying, "Tonight is my great honor, and I mean this sincerely, to present the National Humanities Medal to Sir Elton John" per People. The "Rocket Man" singer was caught off guard and teared up at the announcement. Soon after, a White House official presented John with the medal and gave a thoughtful speech in which they said the medal was for "moving our souls with his powerful voice and one of the defining song books of all time. An enduring icon and advocate with absolute courage, who found purpose to challenge convention, shatter stigma and advance the simple truth — that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect."
John said of the medal, "I'm never flabbergasted, but I'm flabbergasted." Biden explained that he and Jill Biden invited the legendary singer to the White House for "A Night When Hope and History Rhyme" in order to express their gratitude not only for his music but for his activism against HIV and AIDS. "As Jill just mentioned, we're joined by so many people that ... he's set free to be themselves, to be treated with dignity and respect they deserve," said Biden per CNN.
Watch video footage of the moment below: