ELLIS ISLAND — The 34th annual Ellis Island Medals of Honor ceremony on Saturday night awarded 93 Americans, both native-born and naturalized, whose "accomplishments in their field and inspired service to our nation are worthy of commendation."
Honorees this year included singer Paula Abdul and TV personality and host Montel Williams.
"It's a beautiful privilege to be part of one of the nation's most renowned awards," Abdul told PIX11. "I feel extremely humbled, blessed and honored to be a part of so many amazing heroes," she added.
"We're living in a time right now when this place and this history is not being respected," Williams said, referring to Ellis Island's rich history rooted in immigration.
Other honorees this year were King of Morocco Muhammed VI, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, Mastercard President and CEO Ajay Banga, California state Sen. Anthony Portantino, IBM CEO, Ginni Rometty, and CNN Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and more.
PIX11's Marvin Scott and Tamsen Fadal hosted the ceremony, making it Scott's 26th year hosting the event.
Past honorees have included Joe Biden, Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali and Coretta Scott King.