Since 1999, March 25 Each Year Has Been Designated Medal of Honor Day Across Our Nation. [Opinion]

Since 1999, March 25 of each year has been designated as Medal of Honor Day across our nation. This date was selected as it was the date in 1863 that six soldiers received our nation’s highest honor for conspicuous gallantry in action during the Civil War. These were the first Medal of Honor recipients.

The Medal of Honor is our nation’s highest award for gallantry in action. The medal was first authorized in 1861.

Most Americans don’t know that the award was first reserved for Sailors and Marines only. Later in 1862 soldiers of the Army of the United States and states militia (National Guard today) were eligible as well for our nation’s highest award.

Today, just over 3400 of these medals have been authorized for award. The vast majority of these awards were presented to soldiers of the Union Army and States militia during the Civil War.

These days the medal is presented by the President. In past times the medal may have been presented on a battlefield or in theater by a General Officer or other official.

Medal of Honor recipients receive a lifetime series of benefits today. While that hasn’t always been the case it is certainly warranted.

Those benefits include admission for their children at our military academies such as West Point, Annapolis, the Air Force Academy, and or the Coast Guard Academy.

Their actions in combat also earn a lifetime pension.  Other benefits include base exchange and commissary benefits and travel on military aircraft when available. Today’s recipients also receive a Medal of Honor Flag.

On the military customs and courtesies side, Medal of Honor recipients also rate a hand salute from all members of the Armed Forces. This may mean officers saluting enlisted personnel or those lower in grade or rank.

The medal is currently awarded in three different versions: The Army has its own design as does the Air Force, while the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard share the same design which dates back to 1861.

The County of Riverside, Congressman Ken Calvert, and Former President Bill Clinton designated the National Cemetery at Riverside as the official home of the Medal of Honor Memorial in October of 1999. It is a beautiful place to see and remember what sacrifices have been made for freedom here and around the world.

Locally, millions were invested in a memorial by the County Board of Supervisors and its Economic Development Agency. Philanthropy and public donations also helped build this beautiful monument at the National Cemetery in Riverside.

Since. 2015, Riverside County also honors its Medal of Honor recipients in its Executive Office Conference Room. In this special place portraits of those Medal of Honor recipients are on display for all to see.

It’s safe to say that the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, past and present, have gone above and beyond their call of duty to honor all Medal of Honor recipients and those recipients who lived in Riverside County at any point in their lives.

If you are interested in seeing this monument and memorial, please visit the National Cemetery at Riverside. You will see the names of the 3400 plus Medal of Honor recipients engraved on this inspiring and beautiful monument.

The National Cemetery at Riverside is our nation’s largest and busiest cemetery. It is the final resting place for more than 300,000 men and women who served in the Armed Forces and earned their burial in this hallowed ground. It is not uncommon for 20 burials, with full military honors, each day at the National Cemetery at Riverside.

The National Cemetery is open from sunup to sundown each day and on federal holidays. Let’s remember all who earned our nation’s highest military honors.






Image Sources

  • Happy,National,Medal,Of,Honor,Day,Background,Vector,Illustration: Shutterstock