U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday surprised Vice President Joe Biden by presenting him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

Biden was visibly moved by the gesture and could be seen wiping away tears.

"For your faith in your fellow Americans, for your love of country and for your lifetime of service that will endure through the generations, I'd like to ask the military aide to join us on stage," Obama said in the ceremony.

Biden responded by saying he did not deserve the award.

"This honor is not only well beyond what I deserve, but it's a reflection of the extent and generosity of your spirit. I don't deserve this but I know it came from the President's heart," he said.