NATIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR DAY
National Medal of Honor Day on March 25th recognizes all Medal of Honor recipients. The Medal of Honor is the highest military award for valor in the United States and was created in 1861.
On March 25, 1863, Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton presented the first Medals of Honor (Army) to six members of “Andrews Raiders” for their volunteering and participation during an American Civil War raid in April of 1862.
The Medal of Honor is awarded only to US military personnel by the President of the United States in the name of Congress for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty.
There are three versions of the Medal of Honor; one for the Army, one for the Navy, and one for the Air Force; Personnel of the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard receive the Navy version.
Since its creation, 3,468 Medals of Honor have been awarded to the country’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and coastguardsmen.
HOW TO OBSERVE #MedalOfHonorDay
- Some federal, state, local, and military organizations may hold events recognizing Medal of Honor recipients. These events may be public or private.
- Volunteering for your local veteran organization
- Donate to a veteran service organization
- Adopt a Medal of Honor gravesite
- Fly the U.S. flag at your home or business
- Visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
- Visit local memorial sites
- Use #MedalOfHonorDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR DAY HISTORY
In 1990, the United States Congress designated March 25th of each year as National Medal of Honor Day.
Medal of Honor FAQ
Q. Have any women received the Medal of Honor?
A. Yes. Following the American Civil War, President Andrew Johnson presented Dr. Mary Edwards Walker with the Medal of Honor for her volunteer work with the Union Army, often going behind enemy lines to care for civilians.
Q. Has any U.S. president received the Medal of Honor?
A. Yes, but only one. Theodore Roosevelt received the honor for his services during the Spanish American War. It was awarded to Roosevelt posthumously by President Bill Clinton in 2001.
Q. Are the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Medal of Honor the same thing?
A. Yes, but Medal of Honor is the correct term.
March 25th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History
The British Parliament passed the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act making the slave trade illegal in the British colonies. However, trade continued in the Caribbean until 1811.
Three years after crews began, the Chicago Lake Tunnel is activated. The tunnel extends two miles into Lake Michigan to collect fresh water and connects to the Water Supply System of Chicago. It is the first water supply tunnel for a U.S. city, and the first of many water supply tunnels for Chicago.
Hamlet wins Best Picture at the 21st Academy Awards. It’s the first British film to win an Oscar.
Elvis Presley receives a regulation haircut from the U.S. Army.
March 25th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthdays
Gutzon Borglum – 1867
While Gutzon Borglum may be most known for his massive sculpture, Mount Rushmore, the artist created many more impressive works in his lifetime. Included in his collected works is a bust of President Abraham Lincoln carved directly from marble which is on display in the Crypt of the U.S. Capitol Building. Another is called, “Wars of America” and is displayed in Military Park in Newark, New Jersey. Borlum’s sculpture represents the significant military conflicts the United States had been involved in up to World War I.
Howard Cosell – 1918
The Emmy-winning American sportscaster with the distinctive voice and personality was a pioneer in sports journalism during his 32 years with ABC Sports.
Flannery O’Connor – 1925
The American novelist is best known for her short story collections. Some of her short stories include “The Life You Save May Be Your Own” and “Good Country People” found in her short story collection A Good Man is Hard to Find.
James Lovell – 1928
NASA Astronaut, James Lovell, flew four missions to space including as the commander of the Apollo 13 mission successfully returning the damaged Lunar Module and all onboard safely back to Earth.
Gloria Steinem – 1934
Gloria Steinem began her path to activism through freelance writing. Known for expose on New York City’s Playboy Club and launching magazines focusing on significant women’s topics while garnering criticism along the way.
Aretha Franklin – 1942
With 18 Grammy Awards, the Queen of Soul earned more than R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Aretha Franklin started singing at a young age in the Baptist church of her father’s congregation. She would go on to be an R&B legend who continues to collaborate with artists across genres today.
Elton John – 1947
The award-winning singer-songwriter, musician, and composer has been creating hit songs since the 1970s. His music and his elaborate performances have left an indelible mark on music, fans, and pop culture.
Sheryl Swoopes – 1971
In 1997, Swoopes became the first player to sign with the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBA) in its inaugural season. As a guard and forward, Swoopes competed in 14 seasons in the WNBA for the Houston Comets, winning four WNBA championship titles. She also played for the Seattle Storm and the Tulsa Shock.
Stephen Luce – 1827
Norman Borlaug – 1914
Sarah Jessica Parker – 1965
Debi Thomas – 1967
Danica Patrick – 1982