March 25, 2019 was National Medal of Honor Day, a day dedicated to honor the recipients of our nation’s highest medal, the Medal of Honor.
This year some of the 72 living Medal of Honor recipients laid a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. These recipients were participating on a three-day trip to Washington, DC for an annual event that recognizes recipients for their bravery.
According to Stars & Stripes, “[a]ll 72 living Medal of Honor recipients, from World War II through the Korean and Vietnam wars to the 21st-century conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, are invited to Washington annually for a March 25 National Medal of Honor Day. American Airlines pays for their charter flight and some other events during the weekend.”
The first Medals of Honor were presented on March 25, 1863, when then-Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, “presented Medals of Honor (Army) to six members of the “Andrews Raiders” for their volunteering and participation during an American Civil War raid in April of 1862”, according to NationalDayCalendar. Since its creation, “there have been 3,468 Medals of Honor awarded to the country’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and coast guardsmen.”
There are three versions of the Medal of Honor, specifically the Army, Navy, and Air Force versions. Members of the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard receive the Navy version. According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society (MOHS), “the Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. Generally presented to its recipient by the President of the United States of America in the name of Congress.” For additional details on the Medal of Honor, please visit the CMOHS website.
The author, US Air Force retired Brigadier General Carl Buhler, is the CEO and Lead Consultant of Buhler Consulting, LLC which provides consulting services in a wide variety of defense and aerospace areas. Brig Gen Buhler (ret) is a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Air Force Association.