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National Medal of Honor Day
By AlphaNews
3/25/2016 7:00:00 AM
March 2016:

Medals of Honor
Army, Coast Guard/Navy/Marine Corps and Air Force (left to right)

In 1990 Congress designated March 25 as “National Medal of Honor Day.” This date was chosen because it was the date in 1863 that the very first Medals of Honor were awarded to six members of Andrew’s Raiders. The raiders were Union soldiers who commandeered a train during the Civil War to damage the W&A railroad line in the south and the operations of the Confederates. They were eventually captured and some executed. A year later some of the surviving raiders were recognized by the U.S. Congress for their service.

The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be given to an individual serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. It is presented by the President in a formal ceremony at the White House, intended to represent the gratitude of the American people, with posthumous presentations made to the primary next of kin. Three different Medals of Honor are presented for each branch -- Army, Coast Guard/Navy/Marine Corps and Air Force.

The idea for the Medal of Honor came in December of 1861 when Iowa Senator James W. Grimes introduced a bill to the Senate designed to "promote the efficiency of the Navy" by authorizing the production and distribution of "medals of honor". The bill was passed and signed by President Lincoln later that month. Two months later another bill was introduced to create such an award for the Army. It was signed by Lincoln in July 1862. The Air Force Medal of Honor was created in 1950 after the Air Force was officially born in 1947.

To date 3,469 Medals of Honor have been awarded to servicemen from the different branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. Included among them is the one and only woman, Mary Edwards Walker. Walker was an Army surgeon during the Civil War. The award has expanded and now each year a group of medal recipients award Civilian Honors that recognize Americans who have either dedicated their lives to enriching others' or committed extraordinary acts of heroism.

So on this “National Medal of Honor Day”, we take a moment to pay tribute to, and remember, all those servicemen who have been bestowed with this high honor. Thank you for your dedication and bravery.

Tags: National Medal of Honor Day, US Armed Forces, Congress, Civil War, Civilian Heroes
Categories: Military History
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