On March 31, 1973, John Ford was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Nixon. This guy was a real American hero. Not only did he direct some of the greatest films Hollywood has ever made, he was also a war hero. Though he was already a famous Hollywood director, he joined the navy during WWII. He filmed the Battle of Midway from atop a primary Japanese target and was hit by flying concrete. He was later hit in the arm by shrapnel which tore a hole through the arm. He served in the Pacific, North Africa, and Normandy. He later held the rank of rear admiral in the U.S. Naval Reserve. When handed the medal, he accepted with the words, "God bless America."
If you've never seen any of his films, try "The Searchers" with John Wayne. They don't make them like that any more.