National Medal of Honor Day


By Tim Hudak,

The Medal of Honor has been awarded to 3,493 individuals during 26 conflicts

The greatest commendation our nation can confer is the Medal of Honor. The first Medals of Honor were presented on March 25, 1863. To commemorate this date and all Medal of Honor recipients, Congress declared March 25th as National Medal of Honor day.

The Medal of Honor is reserved for those who have distinguished themselves “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity.” This National Medal of Honor Day, we remember the courage and selfless sacrifice of those incredible individuals.

The Medal of Honor has been awarded to 3,493 individuals. There are currently 79 living Medal of Honor recipients and 19 recipients have received two Medals.

Average age of recipients at the time of the Medal of Honor action:

  • All services: 26 years old
  • U.S. Army recipients: 25 years old
  • U.S. Air Force recipients: 33 years old
  • U.S. Coast Guard recipients: 23 years old
  • U.S. Navy recipients: 29 years old
  • U.S. Army Air Corps: 27 years old
  • U.S. Marine Corps: 25 years old

The National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation is a educational institution organized to design, fund, build and maintain the new museum and education center that will:

  • Preserve the stories of Medal recipients and present them to new generations sorely in need of true heroes to look up to and to emulate;
  • Help our visitors understand what it means to put service above self and the meaning and price of freedom;
  • Inspire them about the ideals of patriotism, leadership and courage, and encourage them to embrace their responsibilities as citizens in a democracy; and
  • Serve as an education center that, through various programs, reaches out across the country to further the Medal’s ideals among all Americans, especially our nation’s youth.

Mission, Goals and Guiding Principles

To preserve and present the extraordinary stories of individuals who reached the highest levels of recognition, “above and beyond the call of duty,” in service to the nation. GoalsDesign, fund, build and maintain state-of-the-art facilities for the orientation, comfort and education of visitors. Present exhibits, programs and services designed to engage diverse audiences and enhance their understanding of and appreciation for the stories of the Congressional Medal of Honor and Medal of Honor recipients, and the values associated with the Medal. Through an Institute of Leadership, combine the legacies of the Medal of Honor and its recipients with the resources of the museum to help leaders in the business, education and government communities make decisions that will have a positive impact on their organizations’ success. Guiding PrinciplesThe museum will help visitors make personal and emotional connections to recipients of the Medal of Honor and the events that prompted their sacrifices. To facilitate coordination and communication, the museum will have sufficient space to accommodate the offices of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation.

Exhibits, programs and activities will meet the highest standards for preservation, conservation and curatorial care of the artifacts and will be designed and developed with maintenance requirements in mind. They will take full advantage of scholarship, technology and learning techniques.

The museum will be designed to appeal to the broadest possible audience, exciting and inspiring visitors of all ages, learning styles, objectives and physical abilities.

Use changing exhibits, special programs and seasonal offerings to help ensure the success of Patriots Point as a premiere destination, to optimize visitors’ length of stay and to encourage repeat visitation.

Raise awareness of and support for the work of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, including its Character Development Program. Educational programs, on-site and through outreach, will focus on the values and ideals of the Medal of Honor – courage, integrity, patriotism, leadership and sacrifice.

Preserve, protect and acquire key artifacts and archival materials related to the Medal of Honor and its recipients, helping to create a tangible link between visitors and the heroes who have sacrificed for the nation.

Recognize and honor those who have served our country.

To inspire current and future generations about the ideals of courage, integrity, patriotism, leadership and sacrifice; to help them understand the meaning and price of freedom; and to encourage them to embrace their responsibilities as citizens in a democracy.


The Congressional Medal of Honor Society, whose membership consists of the living Medal recipients, has designated this as the National Medal of Honor Museum. Members of the Society serve on the Foundation’s board and comprise a steering committee that will review all museum exhibits and programs to ensure they are consistent with the Society’s mission. Their interest is not in a monument to themselves, but rather a learning center that focuses on sending important messages to our youth about patriotism, leadership and courage. 



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