I was surprised as hell today to learn that March 25th is Medal of Honor Day. This took me by surprise because this is the kind of thing you would think I would know about.

At any rate, since I just discovered this fact, I’ll pass along some more facts to you:

  • The Congressional Medal of Honor was created on July 12th, 1862 during the Civil War. It is the highest award possible for military service in the Armed Forces of the United States.
  • Nominations for the award are made either through the military chain of command, or by petitioning the Servicemember’s Congressman.
  • The Medal has evolved in terms of awards. Overall, there have been 3458 persons awarded the Medal (some twice). Over time, the importance of this award has grown, and fully 627 recipients were presented this award posthumously.
  • Since the Civil War, there have been somewhere around 40 million Americans who have answered the call to duty to defend our nation. The going rate on awardees to servicemembers is .008645%.
  • Since World War II, 530 of 861 recipients (61.55%) have been posthumous awards.
  • Although not required, military custom dictates that a Medal of Honor recipient is saluted by all ranks of all services regardless of the rank or status of the bearer of the Medal.
  • There are only 81 living recipients of this award.

The interesting thing about these men is that not one of them – those that survived their experiences – considers himself a hero. I’ve had the privilege of meeting two of them, and they are normal guys who do normal things. To see them on the street, you would never know what role they had in preserving your freedom, and they would never bring it up.

Keep these rare assets of ours in mind today. They deserve your thought in spite of their humility.


Web site for the CMOHS: http://www.cmohs.org/

Army web site: http://www.history.army.mil/moh.html

Justification for the award: “Conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against any enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.”

26 Responses to “Honor”

  1. We should all strive to display such humility.

  2. Completely awesome. I salute these brave souls who didn’t have to think twice about serving our country and doing, in deed, what the rest of us like to think we would do if presented with the same circumstances. Thank you for bringing this honor to our attention.

  3. Thanks for the facts you shared. Very interesting

  4. Anyone who thinks they’re a hero won’t be one. Says the nonmilitary guy.

  5. Didn’t know about it being Medal of Honor Day either. A hearty salute and Semper Fi to those brave men…who are all heroes in my eyes.

  6. whiteladyinthehood Says:

    That was an awesome post, Rants. It is a very beautiful medal.

  7. That a medal of honor recipient be saluted by all ranks is fantastic. One of the things the military does just so well is respect. And that respect must be earned. In this case, all too often, at a horribly high price.

    I remember learning that George Washington is a 6-star general, so that no one may call themselves his equal. I thought that was very, very cool.

  8. Excellent post and thoughts. Thanks, Matt!

    Here’s to all the unsung heroes in our midst.

  9. Rich Crete Says:

    I didn’t know the tradition of higher ranking members saluting the recipients. That is flat out excellent. Ultimate respect. Thanks for sharing that.

  10. John Erickson Says:

    And don’t forget there are 3 separate designs, one for the Army, Navy and Marines, and Air Force. I’ve met a couple WW2 vets who were awarded the MOH, and every one of them felt unworthy – no ego, no hubris, and every one of them felt they wore it for their comrades and fellow soldiers.
    Great post. BZ.

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