By John McDevitt
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Boxing legend Muhammad Ali received the prestigious Liberty Medal last night at an outdoor ceremony at the National Constitution Center.
There was a standing ovation and some chanted “Ali” over and over.
Muhammad Ali, 70, received the Liberty Medal for his fight for human rights, civil rights and religious freedom. Ali has been battling Parkinson’s disease for the past 30 years. On his behalf, his wife Lonnie delivered the acceptance speech.
“Many people admire and respect Muhammad for his principals, even some of those who may not have originally, but I hope that these people also admire and respect the principals of the country that gave him the freedom to do what he did.”
Ali continued, “Muhammad is a beacon of hope, of compassion, of the goodness of humanity. And tonight, he is deeply honored, and humbled, as are we, to be a beacon of liberty.”
Muhammad Ali’s daughter Laila also participated in the ceremony. Other participants included Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, former Philadelphia 76er Dikembe Mutombo, and singer Roberta Flack, who performed “The Impossible Dream.”