(CNN) -- They traded in their coveralls for suits, but many of the 33 miners who were trapped for 69 days in a gold and copper mine still sported their protective sunglasses when they appeared at the Chilean presidential palace Monday to accept awards for their ordeal.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera invited the miners, known as "the 33," to a special ceremony in Santiago. The rescuers involved in the operation were also honored.
The rescue earlier this month captured the attention of the world, as one by one the trapped miners were pulled to the surface in a custom-made capsule that was lowered through a hole drilled into the rock. The men survived underground for longer than anyone in history.
"If anybody doubted before this accident that faith moves mountains, if anybody doubted that when us Chileans get united we are capable of reaching great goals, if anybody doubted our ability to make great achievements, I think that your example has dissipated those doubts," Pinera said, referring to the miners.
"All of those doubts disappeared with what is known today as the Miracle of San Jose, which is the miracle of this story."
The miners have garnered much attentions since their rescue, and many of them still wore the $400 Oakley sunglasses they were given to protect their eyes as the exited the mine.
Hundreds of people gathered outside of La Moneda, the presidential palace, and cheered the miners as they arrived. Some wore hard hats and waved flags and posters with the miners' photos.
The successful rescue operation was seen as a boost to Chile's image.
"When we found out that the company working the mine didn't have the ability to do the proper search-and-rescue effort, we made a decision. The decision was to assume in its entirety 100 percent of the responsibility," Pinera said.
The president continued, "We searched for each one of you as if you were our children, finding you with the help of God, and rescuing you with the support and contribution of thousands upon thousands of heroes, some known, some others anonymously, who gave themselves entirely to the task while you were [trapped] in the depths of the mountain."
The rescue efforts were proof that Chile is committed to doing things right, the president said.
"That day [of the rescue] was a triumph of life over death, hope over pessimism, unity over division, courage over fear, and decisiveness over hesitation," he said.