'It's about the things that I believe in': Alan Page reflects on day at White House
WASHINGTON, D.C. (KMSP) - He's one of the most accomplished men in Minnesota history, and on Friday, he received one of the country's highest honors.
Viking great and retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom Friday at the White House.
Page was in great company as Elvis Presley, Babe Ruth and the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia all received the award as well.
Page said he has been to the White House a couple of times before, but when Fox 9 caught up with him Friday, he said this ceremony was one of a kind.
"I'll give you a little sneak peek at it,” said Page holding his newest piece of hardware in a career filled with accolades.
Page said the significance of the Presidential Medal of Freedom isn't lost on him.
"It’s what the work that Diane and I have done is all about,” he said. “That's the whole point, trying to create equality so that we are all free."
Page was one of seven individuals to receive the highest honor the President can bestow on a civilian.
He said he had no reservations about accepting the award, even though the President's politics differ from his own.
"I figured out early on in this process that this wasn't about me,” Page said. “It's not about President Trump. It's about the things that I believe in, the values that Diane and I shared and worked to see fulfilled."
The White House acknowledged Page's Hall of Fame career with the Minnesota Vikings, as well as serving more than 20 years on the state Supreme Court.
Page said being recognized for the work he and his wife Diane, who died a month ago from breast cancer, have done is the most important.
The Page Education Foundation has provided scholarships for 7,000 students of color to go to college. To him, that means the most.
"There's a poem that has a lot of meaning for me. One of its lines is, ‘Hold on to my hand even when I am gone away from you,’ and throughout the ceremony my focus was on holding on to Diane’s hand,” Page said about his late wife.
Page said one of the first things he's going to do with the medal is share it with students at the Justice Page Middle School in Minneapolis in the hope it will inspire them to make the world a better place just like he has done.
"That's going to be really fun because they are going to get a chance to see something that, ‘He did it. Maybe I can do the things he had done,’ and it doesn't get much better than that.”
Page said he plans to visit the Museum of African American history while he is in the nation’s capital with his family.
He’ll be at Justice Page Middle School with the medal on Monday.