National Medal of Honor Day

March 25th is National Medal of Honor Day. It is a good day for genealogists to do research on ancestors who were in the military. You may find out that an ancestor earned a Medal of Honor. Family Historians can share stories about how a relative or ancestor earned the Medal of Honor.

The Medal of Honor was created in 1861. It is awarded only to 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.

The official blog of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says that the greatest commendation our nation can confer is the Medal of Honor. The Medal of Honor is reserved for those who have distinguished themselves “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity”.

The first Medals of Honor were presented on March 25, 1863. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton presented Medals of Honor to six members of “Andrews Raiders” for their volunteering and participation during an American Civil War raid in April of 1862.

There are three versions of the Medal of Honor. One is for the Army; one is for the Navy; and one is for the Air Force. Personnel of the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard receive the Navy version of the Medal of Honor.

In 1990, Congress officially designated March 25, 1991, as “National Medal of Honor Day.” The bill was signed by President George Bush.

On January 13, 1997, President Bill Clinton awarded the National Medal of Honor to seven African-American soldiers who served the United States Army during World War II: Sergeant Rubin Rivers, Staff Sergeant Edward Carter, Lieutenant Charles Thomas, Private First Class Willy James, Private George Watson, Lieutenant John Fox, and Lieutenant Vernon Baker.

On May 1, 2001, President George W. Bush awarded the Medal of Honor to Captain Ben Salomon, who was a surgeon in World War II. On October 22, 2007, President George W. Bush awarded the Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, U.S. Navy.

A website called Military One Click has a page dedicated to every Medal of Honor recipient President Barack Obama honored. It includes photos of the Medal of Honor recipients and descriptions of when, where, and how they served the United States.

On July 31, 2017, President Donald Trump awarded the Medal of Honor to former Spc. 5 James McCloughan, who was an Army Medic in the Vietnam War. On September 20, 2017, President Donald Trump awarded the Medal of Honor to U.S. Army Captain M. Rose, who served during the Vietnam War as an Army Medic.

Related Articles at

* Sources for Ancestors in Military Service

* Where to Find Vietnam Conflict Era Records Online

* Civil War Records & Information

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