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Ralph Lauren is known for his successful fashion designs, but he is also a philanthropist and donated millions to save and restore the Star-Spangled Banner that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the song that would become the National Anthem. The Smithsonian honored Lauren on Tuesday for his work and Hillary Clinton was on hand as well.
The Smithsonian presented Lauren with the James Smithsonian Bicentennial Medal at the National Museum of American history. It was established in 1965 and honors those who “made distinguished contributions to the advancement of areas of interest to the Smithsonian.”
That’s certainly a description that fits Lauren, who has incorporated the red, white and blue flag into his designs for decades. He donated $10 million to help save the flag and gave another $3 million to the Save America’s Treasures program.
Lauren “responded to the call” to save the flag, Clinton said. “He didn't have to...But he understood because it was deep within him that part of being an American is giving back.”
"I've always been inspired by America, but I never thought I'd get an award for it,” Lauren said when receiving the award, USA Today reports.
Also during the ceremony, 15 immigrants from Australia and South Korea became American citizens. The number 15 was picked to represent the 15 stars on the Star-Spangled Banner.
“You're very lucky to be here,” Lauren, the son of immigrants himself, told them. “I started with nothing but good parents and a good family, but the opportunity that I had to use my talent — America gave me that."
image courtesy of INFphoto.com