It's been overshadowed by the death of Whitney Houston, as has much, but yesterday was a big day for a select group of artists, entertainers and humanitarians. The White House handed out their 2011 National Medals of Arts & Humanities awards. Among the winners yesterday were Al Pacino and country music artist Mel Tillis.

There were others receiving the award as well like poet laureate Rita Dove, Emily Pulitzer (founder of Pulitzer Prize), painter Will Barnet, sculptor Martin Puryer and others.

Al Pacino received his award (and the most applause) for his contribution to film and theater as an actor and director. Added to that was his intensity to his roles and world wide acknowledgements.

Mel Tillis was awarded for his contribution to country music with over 1,000 songs and 60 albums to his name. It was pointed out that his warmth and humor make him a standout in the industry.