Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond

Medals of Honor, from left, Army, Navy, Air Force. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)
There are three different versions of the Medal of Honor. From left are the Army, Navy and Air Force versions. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

On this date in 1862, the Medal of Honor was authorized by the United States Congress.

Here are some things you may not have known about America’s highest military honor.

The medal is sometimes known as the Congressional Medal of Honor, as it is awarded by the President in the name of the Congress, although its full name is simply the “Medal of Honor.”

It’s awarded for acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty.

There are three versions of the medal; one for the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. Coast Guard personnel and Marines receive the Navy medal.

The Navy established a Medal of Valor in 1861, followed by the Army’s Medal of Honor in 1862. The Navy retired it Medal of Valor in 1915 and began awarding Medal of Honor.

In 1965, the Air Force version was adopted. Before that, Air Force personnel received the Army version.

Award recipients receive a monthly pension above the regular pension, currently $1,259 per month. They also receive a supplemental uniform allowance, an invitation to all future presidential inaugurations, and eligibility for interment at Arlington National Cemetery, if they weren’t otherwise eligible.

It is a tradition that members of the armed forces are encouraged to salute Medal of Honor recipients, regardless of rank.

A total of 3,495 servicemen and women have received the Medal of Honor. There are 76 living recipients; six of whom earned their medals in World War II, six from the Korean War, 53 from the Vietnam War, and 11 during the war in Afghanistan. The oldest recipient is 95-year-old Robert D. Maxwell, who survived throwing himself on a German hand grenade to save his comrades.

Our question: What is the highest American honor awarded to civilians?

Today is Independence Day in Kiribati and also in Sao Tome and Principe.

It’s unofficially National Pecan Pie Day, and Different Colored Eyes Day.

It’s the birthday of poet Pablo Neruda, who was born in 1904; fitness celebrity Richard Simmons, who is 68; and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, who turns 45.

Because our topic happened before 1960, we’ll spin the wheel to pick a year at random.

This week in 1964, the top song in the U.S. was “Easier Said Than Done” by The Essex.

The No. 1 movie was “The Killers,” while the novel “The Spy Who Came In From The Cold” by John le Carre topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.

Weekly take-home test

Which of the EGOT awards (The Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) is “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda missing?


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