Late Congress member to get top honor 

The late Rep. Tom Lantos will receive the country’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the White House announced Wednesday.

Lantos, D-San Mateo, died in February of esophogeal cancer at the age of 80. The award will be given during a White House ceremony June 19.

"Tom Lantos was a champion of human rights," the White House announcement said. "The only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress, he devoted himself to securing liberty for oppressed people around the world and became a powerful witness for the importance of freedom."

Lantos spent 27 years in the House of Representatives and led the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.

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