Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s opposition leader, was awarded Congress’ highest honor by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other United States House and Senate leaders on Wednesday.
In the Capitol’s Rotunda, John McCain and other United States’ politicians were on hand to bestow Suu Kyi with the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal, according to CNN.
McCain called Suu Kyi “his personal hero.”
“They did all they could to break her,” the Arizona Republican said of the military junta that detained her. McCain, who was a POW in Vietnam, choked up, his voice breaking.
“Aung San Suu Kyi didn’t scare a damn,” he told the crowd.
His comments were met with wild applause.
Suu Kyi was kept for the better part of two decades under house arrest for advocating for democracy in Myanmar. The country’s former military rulers ordered her detention, and in recent years her case has received an international spotlight. She paid a hefty personal price for standing up for freedom in Myanmar which suffered from 50 years of autocratic, repressive rule.
She was freed in 2010 and elected to the Myanmar parliament this year, a historic moment in the country.
Suu Kyi met with President Barack Obama later on in the day.
Other recipients of the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal include Neil Armstrong, Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr.
(Photo Credit: UK Guardian)