Medal of Honor Day in the United States Date in the current year: March 25, 2024

Medal of Honor Day in the United States Medal of Honor Day is an annual US federal observance that takes place on March 25. It honors all recipients of the country’s highest personal military decoration. The observance was created to highlight the courage and heroism of these people.

The Medal of Honor is the highest and most prestigious personal military decoration in the United States. It is awarded by the President in the name of Congress to military personnel who have distinguished themselves by acts of valor. Each military department (the Army, the Navy and the Air Force) has its own version of medal; those who serve in the Marine Corps and the Cost Guard are awarded the Navy variant of the medal, and those who serve in the Space Force receive the Air Force variant.

The idea of awarding a battlefield decoration for valor was first voiced during the first year of the American Civil War. However, Commanding General Winfield Scott was strictly opposed to awarding medals of any kind because he considered it a European tradition.

Scott retired in October 1861, and Iowa senator James W. Grimes suggested that medals of honor be bestowed upon petty officers, seamen, landsmen and marines who have distinguished themselves in battle. His suggestion was supported by President Abraham Lincoln, who signed it into law on December 21, 1861.

Several months later, Massachusetts senator Henry Wilson put forward a similar proposal for an award to be bestowed upon the enlisted men of the army and volunteer forces who have distinguished themselves in battle. The Army Medal of Honor was officially made a permanent decoration by the Congress on March 3, 1863, and its statute was expanded to include officers.

The Navy variant was authorized for officers of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard in 1915. A separate version of the medal for the U.S. Air Force, which was established as a separate branch in 1947, was created in 1956 and officially adopted in 1965.

The Medal of Honor is usually nominated and approved through the service member’s chain of command, but it is possible to be nominated for the medal by a member of Congress. As a rule, the Medal of Honor is presented by the President as the commander-in-chief of the U.S. Armed Forces. Since 1941, more than half of the Medals of Honor have been awarded posthumously.

Medal of Honor Day was created by Congress and officially established by President George H. W. Bush in November 1990. It is celebrated on March 25 to honor the participants of the Great Locomotive Chase, also known as the Mitchel Raid or Andrew’s Raid, an episode of the Civil War that occurred on April 12, 1862.

During the raid, volunteers from the Union Army, led by James J. Andrews, commandeered a train and took it from Atlanta, Georgia toward Chattanooga, Tennessee, trying to do as much damage as possible to the Western and Atlantic Railroad, which was vital for delivering supplies to the Confederate army.

Confederate forces eventually captured all raiders. Eight raiders, including Andrews, were hanged, eight managed to escape, and six were eventually exchanged for Confederate prisoners. On March 25, 1863, six raiders (Jacob Parrott, Elihu H. Mason, William Pittinger, William H. H. Reddick, William Bensinger and Robert Buffum) were the first America servicemen to receive Medals of Honor. The anniversary of this event was designated as Medal of Honor Day.

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Medal of Honor Day in the United States, holidays in the United States, observances in the United States, military observances, federal obse