National Medal of Honor Day

March 25th we celebrate and recognize our nation’s most highly decorated members of the military.  The Medal of Honor (MoH) was first awarded during the American Civil War to the young man pictured to the right.

Join us today in remembering these heroes, past, present and future.

(the following is from the State of Ohio’s site)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (01/01/17) — Pvt. Jacob Parrott, a member of the Ohio Volunteer Militia —  the predecessor to the Ohio National Guard — has the distinction of being the first person to receive the Medal of Honor, on March 25, 1863.

Pvt. Jacob Parrott, a member of the Ohio Volunteer Militia, which is the predecessor to the Ohio National Guard, was the first recipient of the Medal of Honor in 1863. (U.S. Army photo)

National Medal of Honor Day is observed every year on March 25 and is dedicated to Medal of Honor Recipients. Each branch of the U.S. military awards the Medal of Honor to those who have distinguished themselves “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity” above and beyond the call of duty, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs official site.

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From the Military Benefits website we found the following:

Origins of the Medal of Honor (MoH)

There were medals awarded that served at the time as forerunners of the MoH. These included the Fidelity Medallion awarded in the late 1700s to only three persons associated with the capture of a spy associated with Benedict Arnold; another precursor to the MoH was George Washington’s Badge of Military Merit. The last “proto-MoH” was the Medal of Valor, approved by President Abraham Lincoln in 1861.

In 1862, the Army Medal of Honor was created thanks to a resolution introduced by the Senate Committee on Military Affairs, Senator Henry Wilson. In 1915, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard members were authorized to receive the Medal of Honor, and by the mid 1960s the United States Air Force also had its’ own version of the MoH.

Text Of The MoH Resolution

The version of the measure introduced by Henry Wilson and signed into law by President Lincoln includes the following:

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President of the United States be, and he is hereby, authorized to cause two thousand “medals of honor” to be prepared with suitable emblematic devices, and to direct that the same 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, during the present insurrection (Civil War).

Obviously the Medal of Honor has evolved quite a long way since this text was written, and far more than the original 2,000 medals authorized have been awarded since the mid-1800s.

National Medal Of Honor Day: March 25

The first Medals of Honor were awarded on March 25, 1863; when Congress passed a resolution in 1990 establishing National Medal of Honor Day, March 25th became the official nationwide holiday honoring the medal and its’ recipients.

Celebrating National Medal of Honor Day

National Medal of Honor Day is not a federal holiday; banks do not close, U.S. Post Office facilities remain open, and there are no school closings. Many of the ceremonies and other forms of observance take place on military bases, national cemeteries, and in local communities. It is not uncommon for the President of the United States to visit or gather MoH recipients to pay respects to their sacrifices. Visits to Arlington National Cemetery or similar facilities are also traditional ways of paying respects on March 25th.

Public ceremonies aren’t the only way to commemorate March 25th; private citizens can do several things to observe National Medal of Honor Day:

  • Fly the United States flag at a residence or business
  • “Adopt” the gravesite of a MoH recipient
  • Attend a “retreat” ceremony honoring the fallen with “Taps” and the lowering of the flag
  • Attend ceremonies honoring living MoH recipients
  • Donate to or support MoH societies, Veterans Service Organizations, and veteran-oriented museums


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