The Medal of Honor is the highest award given to United States military servicemen and women for distinguished acts of valor. Since 1965, each branch of the military has made its own version of the medal.
The first award was given in 1861 when Iowa Senator James W. Grimes enacted a resolution to award a “Medal to Honor” for gallantry in action in the U.S. Navy. The following year, Senator Henry Wilson put forth a resolution calling “to provide for the presentation of ‘Medals of Honor’ to the Enlisted Men of the Army and Volunteer Forces who have distinguished, or may distinguish, themselves in Battle during the present Rebellion.” In March, 25th 1863, six Union soldiers were awarded the first Medals of Honor for a daring raid involving the capture of a Confederate train known as “The Great Locomotive Chase.”
How Medal of Honor Day Was Created
In 1990, George H.W. Bush and the 101st U.S. Congress declared March 25th National Medal of Honor Day, citing the anniversary of the first recipients. Medal of Honor Day exists to credit all the men and women who have received the award, as well as the surviving 64 recipients. The holiday is not just about recipients but also a homage to the servicemen who fought side by side and gave their lives in every military struggle since the Civil War. This legislation ensured that the gallantry and cost of service in our nation’s military would not soon be forgotten.
The Formation of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society
Founded in 1958, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society is a federally funded organization made up of the living recipients of the award.
Their aim is to educate the public about the sacrifices that our servicemen and women have made for freedom, as well as to honor civilians who achieve high recognition through service to our country.
Each year, the society chooses five individuals and one organization for the Citizens Honor Award. The categories include the Single Act of Heroism Award, Young Hero Award, Service Act Award, and Community Service Award. These awards celebrate civil organizations and civilians as young as eight years old who provide unparalleled service to their communities. Currently, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Museum is located aboard the Yorktown at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum located in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.
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The National Medal of Honor Museum
The National Medal of Honor Museum is currently under construction in Arlington, Texas. Breaking ground on Medal of Honor Day in 2022, it is scheduled to be open to the public in 2024. The museum will feature information about the recipients as well as an educational center designed to encourage character and resolve for young visitors.
In concert with the museum, the Medal of Honor Institute will host regional conferences aimed at developing leadership roles among citizens through regular events and speaking engagements. In addition to the museum, the legislature voted unanimously to install a National Medal of Honor Monument in the National Mall, which was signed into law by President Biden on Dec, 27th, 2021.
What Can I Do to Celebrate Medal of Honor Day?
There are many ways a citizen can honor the National Medal of Honor Day. If you are involved with students as an educator or parent, informing your students or planning a field trip to a local museum to learn more about Medal of Honor recipients is a great way to honor these men and women. You can also write letters to soldiers who are currently serving in the line of duty and offer thanks and encouragement. Donating either time or funds to help one of the many organizations that work to serve the needs of veterans can be very helpful Finally, don’t forget to fly your American flag high this National Medal of Honor Day!
Remembering Medal of Honor Day with Popular Patch
Popular Patch strives to supply high-quality patches for those who want to honor their family members and servicemen or women who have answered their country’s call. We provide a comprehensive collection of insignia from all branches of service with astonishing levels of detail, as well as custom-made patches. To honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice check out patches like the USNS Herschel “Woody” Williams M.O.H. patch or browse our extensive inventory.
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