“There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty, that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism.” –Alexander Hamilton (1775)
In 1990, Congress designated March 25th as National Medal of Honor Day, a day that is dedicated to all Medal of Honor recipients. There are just 78 living recipients today.
The date of March 25th was chosen to highlight this special day because it was on March 25 (1863) that the first Medals of Honor were presented…to six members of Andrews’ Raiders.
The President, in the name of Congress, has awarded more than 3,400 Medals of Honor to our nation’s bravest Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen since the decoration’s creation in 1861. For years, the citations highlighting these acts of bravery and heroism resided in dusty archives and only sporadically were printed. In 1973, the U.S. Senate ordered the citations be compiled and printed as a Committee on Veterans’ Affairs report. This book was later updated and a reprint published in 1979.
The citations provided here are taken from the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Report, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1978 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1979).
For awards made after 1978, the citations are taken either from the CRS Report for Congress: Medal of Honor Recipients: 1979-2008 dated 4 June 2008, or in some cases, from the citations officially released and published at the time of award by the White House.