It was on this day in 1862 that President Abraham Lincoln approved legislation authorizing the preparation of 2,000 Medals of Honor to “be presented, in the name of the Congress, to such non-commissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldier-like qualities.” The Medal of Honor had been initiated the previous year as an award given by the U.S. Navy. Today it is the highest award given to U.S. military personnel in the line of duty.
Since then, more than 3,400 people have received this medal. Some have been dubious, such as the soldiers who were awarded the medals for their actions in the tragic 1890 “Wounded Knee” massacre. But, in the recent Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, the medals have taken on new significance and enhanced value. Recipients almost have to die to get one. These aren’t perfect attendance awards! In an ideal world, no such awards would be given because war wouldn’t occur. But alas, this isn’t a utopian universe. Regardless this is my personal salute to all MOH recipients and all military personnel.
One response to “Medal of Honor”
We have one similar of her – the Victoria Cross. A medal in the name of Queen Victoria. 99% of recipients are posthumous. There is a live one at the moment Johnson Beharry. In May 2004, he saved members of his unit from an ambush. Not worthy of a VC that one. But … he did exactly the same thing in June 2004. This time he suffered severe head trauma. So severe that he would never walk again. When he went to collect VC from Queen Elizabeth II, he walked to her. He later placed 3rd or 4th on a TV show over here – Dancing on Ice. This guy is a true hero in every sense of the word. The VC has two words on it – For Valour (spelt the correct way hehe )