This month is full of great reasons to honor people. First, it is Women’s History Month. Each week I’m posting about four interesting World War II females who volunteered to serve our country.
Today is NATIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR DAY — another great day to honor a special group of people!
On March 25 each year, we in the United States recognize all Medal of Honor recipients. It is awarded to American 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. This honor is bestowed upon U.S. military personnel who have distinguished themselves “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity.”
Usually this means the person’s life was in danger for much of the action. Sometimes it is given posthumously – after the person gave his/her life in defending our country.
NATIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR DAY HISTORY
The history of this prestigious award dates to March 25, 1863, when Secretary of War Edwin Stanton presented the first Medals of Honor (Army) to six men.
These soldiers were members of a self-named group called “Andrews Raiders”. They had volunteered and participated in a daring raid during the American Civil War in April of 1862.
The Medal of Honor was newly created in 1861. Today, it is still the highest military honor in the American military.
Each branch recognizes the Medal of Honor, although some differentiate it. There is one for the Army and another for the Air Force. The one for the Navy is shared with personnel of the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard.
During its first 160 years, the Medal of Honor has been awarded to 3,468 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and coastguardsmen.
In 1990, the United States Congress designated March 25 as National Medal of Honor Day.
Personal account: Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams
I’m proud to have a story from a Medal of Honor recipient in my latest book, We Defended Freedom: Adventures of World War II Veterans.
Woody Williams received his medal from United States President Harry S. Truman after the war ended. This Marine received his award for his actions with a flamethrower on the island of Iwo Jima several months earlier.
Woody is the last living World War II MOH recipient.
You can read about Williams’ episode which prompted receipt of his award at my recent blog post of the battle at Iwo Jima.
I don’t know of groups honoring these brave people in my area, but I always make it a point to thank veterans – in person or online – for their service.
So here it is — THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY! WE APPRECIATE IT!
Other things we can do to honor veterans:
- Volunteer for a veteran organization
- Donate to a veteran service organization
- Adopt a Medal of Honor gravesite
- Fly the U.S. flag at your home or business (we put up a new flag yesterday!)
- Visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
- Visit local memorial sites
Use #MedalOfHonorDay to post on social media – Done!
What do you do to honor veterans? We can’t do enough for these people who defend our country!