President Barack Obama on Friday awarded gay rights activist Jeanne Manford the Presidential Citizens Medal.

Manford, who died last month at the age of 92, founded with her husband Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in 1972 as a response to the brutal beating of her gay son, Morty, while attending a gay rights demonstration in New York City.

Obama called the event to honor 13 Americans “one of his favorites.”

“[B]ecause it's a moment when, as a people, we get to recognize some extraordinary men and women who have gone above and beyond for their country and for their fellow citizens – often without fanfare; often with not a lot of attention; very rarely for any profit.”

“And today, we honor you. We celebrate you. And, most of all, we have a chance to say thank you. Because all of us are what the rest of us aspire to be.”

On Manford, Obama said: “When Jeanne Manford learned that her son Morty had been badly beaten up at a gay rights demonstration, nobody would have faulted her for bringing him home, holding him close, just focusing on her child. This was back in 1972. There was a lot of hate, a lot of vitriol towards gays and lesbians and anyone who supported them. But instead, she wrote to the local newspaper and took to the streets with a simple message: No matter who her son was -- no matter who he loved –- she loved him, and wouldn’t put up with this kind of nonsense. And in that simple act, she inspired a movement and gave rise to a national organization that has given so much support to parents and families and friends, and helped to change this country. We lost Jeanne last month, but her legacy carries on, every day, in the countless lives that she touched.”

Accepting the medal on behalf of Manford was Suzanne Swan, Manford's daughter. (Video from the ceremony is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)