The Medal of Honor the nations highest military decoration that can be awarded to a man or woman serving in the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard.
General George Washington on August 7, 1782 established the Badge of Military Merit for rewarding acts of individual gallantry by the nation’s fighting men. Only 3 individuals were to receive this award with it following out of use until 1932 when it was reinstated as the Purple Heart.
President Abraham Lincoln signed the Navy Medal of Valor into law on December 21, 1861 for enlisted men of the Navy and Marine Corps. A year later on July 12, 1862. The measure provided for awarding a medal of honor “to such noncommissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldier like qualities, during the present insurrection.”
While the Medal of Honor was created for the Civil War, Congress made it a permanent decoration in 1863. Members of all branches of the U.S. military are eligible to receive the medal, and each service has a unique design with the exception of the Marine Corps and Coast Guard, which both use the Navy’s medal.
The President of the United States will often present the Medal of Honor personally or in the case of posthumous awards, to next of kin. Since 1863 3,448 men and one woman have received the award for heroic actions in the nation’s battles. As of last report 86 of these recipients are living.
The Medal of Honor is often incorrectly called, “The Congressional Medal of Honor” due to the wording of the (latter) authorizing U.S. Code, Title 10, Subtitle B, Part II, Chapter 357, Section 3741. The Medal of Honor should not be confused with the Congressional Gold Medal that is often called the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor and is the highest award that may be bestowed by the Legislative Branch of the United States government and awarded to any individual who performs an outstanding deed or act of service to the security, prosperity, and national interest of the United States of America.
Due to its honored status, the medal is afforded special protection under U.S. law. Sadly though it is not illegal to claim to have been awarded a Medal of Honor as long as the claim is not for the receipt of benefits. There are many more imposters claiming to be Medal of Honor recipients than there are living genuine Medal of Honor winners. These phony heroes which should be considered the scum of the earth include a former sitting judge in Illinois who once kept two imitation Medals of Honor displayed on his office wall. A list of Medal of Honor recipients can be seen here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Medal_of_Honor_recipients
While not a violation of the law to claim receipt it is a violation of law for a non-recipient of the Medal of Honor to wear it. It is also a violation to sell and/or manufacture a Medal of Honor. (It is patented and may only be manufactured by authorized sources, and it is awarded, never sold.) Fines up to $100,000 and imprisonment for up to a year may punish violators. These strong measures became necessary in order to preserve the honor of this award.
Not only on Veterans day but each and every day – every hour let each of us give special thanks to those that have honorably served in our military.
~Submitted to Kids Speak for America with a big OoRah by a Proud Parent.~