Congressional Medal of Honor Society

MEDAL OF HONOR DAY

HONORING SERVICE AND SACRIFICE

NATIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR DAY

National Medal of Honor Day was established by Congress to “foster public appreciation and recognition of Medal of Honor Recipients.” The first National Medal of Honor Day was celebrated on March 25, 1991. March 25th was chosen because it was on that date in 1863 that the first Medals of Honor were presented to six members of Andrews’ Raiders.

To its Recipients, the Medal of Honor represents more than recognition of combat actions. Instead, it symbolizes the sacrifices of those we served alongside and those who came before. To honor those sacrifices, each year on National Medal of Honor Day, the Recipients lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. The “unknowns” buried here are each Medal of Honor Recipients.

Men standing at the tomb of the unknown soldier for a wreath laying ceremony

CITIZEN HONORS AWARDS

The Medal of Honor Recipients do not believe it is necessary to wear a uniform to serve or sacrifice for others. The principles behind the Medal are relevant to all Americans–courage, sacrifice, integrity, commitment, patriotism, and citizenship.

On National Medal of Honor Day, the Recipients put this belief into action through the Society’s annual Citizen Honors Awards. This program was created  to allow Medal of Honor Recipients to shine a spotlight on fellow citizens in recognition of the sacrifices they have made and the service they have carried out on behalf of others. Every year, the Society accepts submissions from across the country, and a panel including Medal of Honor Recipients select the honorees.

Learn more about the Citizen Honors Awards and see the past honorees.

Men standing at the tomb of the unknown soldier for a wreath laying ceremony

ON THE USS YORKTOWN

A special National Medal of Honor Day ceremony is held yearly at the USS Yorktown, home of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Headquarters and The Medal of Honor Museum at Patriots Point. Visitors to Patriots Point are able to learn more about Medal of Honor Recipients through custom tours and Medal of Honor information checkpoints.

Men standing at the tomb of the unknown soldier for a wreath laying ceremony

COMMUNITY OUTREACH

The Medal of Honor Recipients also mark National Medal of Honor Day through community outreach, as they bring their stories and the importance of the Medal of Honor values into communities, schools, and businesses. In past years, Recipients have visited with students in the Washington, DC, area, met with Veterans at VA facilities, and spoken to the public through panel presentations.

 

 

Men standing at the tomb of the unknown soldier for a wreath laying ceremony

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MEDAL OF HONOR

Narrated by Gary Sinise, this video celebrates the history and values of the United States’ highest award for valor in combat.

MEDAL OF HONOR FACTS AND FAQS

Learn more about the highest award for military valor in action.

NUMBER OF MEDALS OF HONOR AWARDED

3538 TOTAL

NUMBER OF MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS

3517 Total

NUMBER OF LIVING MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS

61 Total

FIRST MEDAL OF HONOR AWARDED

1863

CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR SOCIETY ESTABLISHED

1958

FAQs

  • What is the Medal of Honor?

    The Medal of Honor is the United States’ highest award for military valor in action and was first signed into law in 1861 during the Civil War. The Medal is a distinguished award, presented to those who have shown gallantry and intrepidity, at the risk of their lives, above and beyond the call of duty.

  • How many Medal of Honor Recipients are there?

    Out of the 41 million who have served in the U.S. military, the Medal has been presented to only 3,517 service members who went above and beyond the call of duty, each of whom can be researched in the Medal of Honor Recipient database located here. Among these Recipients, 19 are double awardees, which means that there have been 3,536 Medals of Honor awarded.

  • Who is the Congressional Medal of Honor Society?

    Chartered by Congress in 1958, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s membership is limited to those who wear the Medal of Honor — to those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. The Society reflects their dedication to courage, sacrifice, integrity, commitment, patriotism, and citizenship that makes our nation great. There are 63 living Medal of Honor Recipients whose acts of military valor were performed during the following conflicts: World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the War on Terrorism. The Society and The Medal of Honor Museum are located on the USS Yorktown at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

  • How to support the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Preservation, Education, Outreach and Support programs

    The Medal of Honor Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit established in 1999 to advance the mission and provide a path for financial support of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

    The Congressional Medal of Honor Society is the only organization Chartered by Congress to support Recipients. Although the Medal of Honor traces its origins back to 1861, it wasn’t until 1958 that Congress and President Eisenhower chartered a specific organization to address the work and well-being of Recipients. The Society and Foundation rely solely on private philanthropy – gifts from individuals, corporations, and foundations – and receive no government funding. The Foundation is a 4-Star Rated Charity as rated by Charity Navigator. You can help “Honor the Sacrifce; Inspire the Future” through our secure Medal of Honor Foundation Donor Perfect page here.

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