Dearborn’s John Dingell is leaving Congress after 59 years, but he’s not going away unnoticed. Among the many honors the congressman has received since announcing his retirement last spring was the grandest of them all — the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

President Barack Obama bestowed on Dingell the highest honor a civilian can receive during a ceremony Monday at the White House.

It is much deserved. Dingell, the longest serving congressman in history, not only served long, he has served well. He’s been a champion for his Downriver district and its bread-and-butter auto industry, as well as for efforts to preserve America’s natural landscapes. An avid hunter, Dingell has helped protect millions of acres of wildlife habitat across the country, including a large stretch of the Detroit River.

He’s also the author of the clean air and clean water act. Dingell leaves a legacy that will stand for generations.

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