José Feliciano receives the National Medal of Arts

The famous Puerto Rican singer-songwriter could not attend the ceremony hosted by Joe Biden because he was on tour.

President Joe Biden presented the Medals of Arts and Humanities to 23 outstanding Americans in literature, music, poetry or fashion, including singers Bruce Springsteen and José Feliciano, although the latter was unable to attend the event because he is currently on tour.

The ceremony was held Tuesday in the East Room of the White House and featured the 2021 honorees who had been unable to receive their award due to the pandemic.

"He (George Washington) knew the greatness of a nation was measured not only by the strength of its army and the vastness of its geography, the size of its economy. It was also measured by the vitality of its culture, and the culture forged and freed of expression, to speak and think freely," Biden said quoting the nation's first president.

The president awarded the musician Bruce Springsteen and described him as one of the country's greatest artists and composers. The New Jersey rock star has garnered more than two dozen awards throughout his career.

Puerto Rican singer-songwriter José Feliciano was another award winner. However, the artist could not be present for the ceremony because he was on tour. Despite the difficulties he may have had because he was born blind, the famous singer became one of the first Latinos to reach superstar status in the United States.

Other artists, designers and organizations honored were: Gladys Knight, Mindy Kaling, Judith Francisca Baca, Fred Eychaner, Antonio Martorell-Cardona, Joan Shigekawa, The Billie Holiday Theatre and The International Association of Blacks in Dance, Vera Wang and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

The president also paid tribute with a medal to outstanding historians, philosophers, activists and scholars such as: Walter Isaacson, Earl Lewis, Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Henrietta Mann, Ann Patchett, Amy Tan, Tara Westover and Colson Whitehead, among others.

"You do make the country better, you make it a better place," Biden said.