Today March 25, is National Medal of Honor day. A day when we give support and thanks to all of those who have been awarded our nation’s highest military honor. So in celebration of Medal of Honor day and my new Medal of Honor series for young readers, here are ten facts about the Medal of Honor you might not know. Be sure to visit your favorite bookseller to pick up the first two books in the Medal of Honor series, Jack Montgomery: Gallantry on the Beaches of Anzio and Ryan Pitts: A Firefight in the Mountains of Wanat. And watch for Book Three Leo Thorsness: Valor in the Skies of Vietnam coming in July, 2019.
1. Medal of Honor Recipients are Saluted by Superior Officers
Regardless of their rank, anyone awarded a MOH is forever saluted by anyone who ranks above them, including the Joint Chiefs and the President. They also receive lifetime invitations to every Presidential Inauguration for life.
You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to receive the award, but you must be serving with the United States Military. Over 800 medals have been awarded to non-citizens, including 65 Canadians.
3. Only One Woman Has Received the Medal of Honor
Dr. Mary Edwards Walker served as a surgeon in the Union Army during the American Civil War. She frequently traveled behind enemy lines to treat civilians. She was captured by Confederate forces and spent four months in a military prison in Richmond. Dr. Walker was freed as part of a prisoner exchange. Dr. Walker will be the subject of book five in the Medal of Honor series.
4. Medal of Honor Recipients Receive Special Benefits
Recipients receive free air travel for the rest of their lives, along with free travel for immediate family members traveling with the recipient. They also receive a 10% bonus on their earned military pension and a special allowance of over $1200 per month. MOH recipients are also guaranteed a burial plot in Arlington National Cemetery.
5. Nineteen Men Have Been Awarded Two Medals of Honor
Fourteen men were awarded the MOH for valor in two different actions. The others were awarded by both the Army and the Navy.
6. The Medal of Honor Has Been Awarded to Brothers, Fathers, and Sons.
Arthur and Douglas McArthur as well as President Theodore Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. have received the MOH. Roosevelt is the only U.S. President to be awarded the MOH. Five pairs of brothers were awarded the medal.
7. The Majority of Recipients Receive the Medal Posthumously
Due to the requirements of receiving the award its very nature makes it dangerous for the awardee. A larger number of African-Americans have been awarded the medal after death due to racial segregation in the Armed Forces and the racism and prejudice that existed at the time.
8. Over 900 Medals Have Been Revoked
After an extensive review process in the early 20th century over nine hundred medals were revoked. Among those stripped of the award included Dr. Walker and Buffalo Bill Cody. Dr. Walker refused to return her medal and continued to wear it until her death. Eventually both Walker and Cody’s medals were restored.
9. The Medal of Honor Has Been Awarded to Unknown Soldiers
Since World War I, several unknown U.S. soldiers have been awarded the MOH. Their medals are kept at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C.
This is a common mistake. The award is simply known as the Medal of Honor. The confusion arises from the citation that accompanies the medal. It reads: The President, on behalf of the Congress of the United States…The Congress must approve the award which also adds to the confusion.
Remember to visit your favorite bookseller for copies of the Medal of Honor series.
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