Established in 1969, the Presidential Citizens Medal is the second highest honor for a civilian, recognizing Americans "who have performed exemplary deeds of service for the nation." Past recipients include boxer Muhammad Ali, baseball great Henry "Hank" Aaron, civil rights icon Dorothy Height, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
Today, President Bush honored 24 recipients of this year's award, including actor Gary Sinise and Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp. Also included in that mix was Chuck Colson, "the first member of the Nixon administration to serve prison time for Watergate-related offenses." Colson was President Nixon's counsel from 1969-1973 and pleaded guilty in 1974 to obstruction of justice. Colson received a one to three year sentence, but served just seven months. David Plotz at Slate described Colson's role in the Nixon administration: