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Alan Page to put politics aside to attend White House ceremony

Alan Page's gesture to attend the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House shows a willingness to put politics aside.

Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end and Minnesota Supreme Court justice Alan Page has never hidden his feelings about the current political climate.

But he’s not going to let his personal feelings for President Donald Trump stand in the way of receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom Friday at the White House.

“That’s going to be an experience that I’m going to have to go through,” Page told Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “My vision of the world is the same today as it was a year ago, and the year before that. But this medal, this honor is far more important than my personal beliefs, my personal likes and dislikes.

“The politics of it, that’s something that at this point is not important to me. What’s important is trying to make this world a better place and literally that is my focus.”

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest honor for a civilian, and Page will be joined by former Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach at the ceremony.

Page has never shied away from letting people know what he thought of Trump, and what he feels he’s doing to the country. He said last year that Trump’s “administration has played to people’s worst fears and has played to people’s racial insecurities.” When asked what he’d say to the President, Page said he’d be “inclined not to want to talk to him” because “you’d probably get more reaction out of the paint on the wall.”

The honor is bittersweet for Page, coming shortly after the death of his late wife Diane. But he hopes he can raise awareness for his educational foundation, which has raised more than $14 million for scholarships since its founding in 1988.

“Trying to insure that every child has the opportunity to learn,” Page said of his goals. “The work that both of us have done with respect to racial, gender and social justice, trying to insure that everybody gets treated equally and fairly and to shine a light on those who helped us get here, helped us do the things that we’ve done. We all stand on the shoulders of somebody in accomplishing whatever we do.”

And he won’t let his personal feelings stand in the way of spreading that message, which makes it even more powerful.