CHICAGO (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton fondly recalled her childhood in Illinois Saturday night when she returned to receive the state's top honor from Gov. Pat Quinn.
The former first lady, who is mulling whether to run for president in 2016, was one of seven people receiving the Order of Lincoln medallion during a ceremony at the Field Museum.
The 66-year-old Clinton, described by Order Chancellor Thomas Johnson as "perhaps the most famous woman in the world," was heralded for her accomplishments advocating for health care reform, her campaign for president and her work as the country's chief diplomat. But she did not speak of them.
Instead, Clinton remembered growing up in leafy, suburban Park Ridge, and trips to the beach in Chicago. She recalled playing "mushball"_a local twist on softball — which uses a 16-inch ball. She joked it's a game that "does not exist anywhere else in the universe."
"I am so grateful for the experiences that I had growing up here — the quality of education and opportunity that I was given, the support that I saw at every turn," said Clinton, 66. "To have the chance to come and be with so many of the people who have made this state such an exceptional place in honor of the greatest president who has ever served our country, is very special indeed for me."
In a statement released before the ceremony, Quinn said Clinton "has personified the best of Illinois and the United States" through her decades of service. He cited her work championing human rights, democracy, civil society and opportunity for women.
Clinton, born in Chicago, ran for president in 2008 and served as U.S. senator from New York and secretary of state under President Barack Obama. Although she hasn't said whether she'll run in 2016, she is considered a likely dominant front-runner should she jump in.