It is National Medal of Honor Day. A medal created for “personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty.” Created in 1861 for the Navy, the Army soon followed with its version in 1862. An Air Force Medal of Honor was created during World War I. To date, over 3,500 Medal of Honors have been awarded to military men serving their country’s needs.
There were few medals offered prior to the American Civil War. In 1780, the Fidelity Medallion was offered to veterans of the Revolution. For those who went above the call of duty another medal was awarded in 1782, called the Badge of Military Merit. In 1847, a Certificate of Merit was awarded veterans of the Mexican-American War.
This is truly a holiday that does not get the recognition in the mainstream that it deserves. Congress declared this day a National Holiday in 1863 when the first Medal of Honor was awarded for Jacob Parrott’s actions during the Andrews Raid. Of the 24 Raiders only 6 members received this honorable distinction for their role in the “Great Locomotive Chase“. Oddly, Andrews could not receive the award since he was a civilian and the award was distinctly meant to be offered only to military personnel. Eventually the The Medal of Valor was created for civilians.
Other Medals of Honor were given out to civilians by mistake. Buffalo Bill received one that was later taken back, as well as Mary Edwards Walker, though hers was restored by Jimmy Carter in 1971.
The most recent Medal of Honor awarded was on February 29. 2016 to Edward C. Byers Jr., U.S. Navy Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator for his role in the US Navy SEAL operation ENDURING FREEDOM, freeing American hostage Dr. Dilip Joseph.
Above is the Medal of Honor flag awarded with the Medal of Honor
So in honor of this day:
Fly your American flag proudly
Visit the Great Locomotive Chase Andrew’s Raiders Monuments and Markers in person or virtually
Thank a service member or vet for all that they do or write a Thank You Letter to a Medal of Honor Recipient
Watch the Walt Disney Film the Great Locomotive Chase