America has long recognized the valor of those who risk their lives to keep its people safe. So on this 4th of July in 2013, I would like to showcase a few of the medals.
On August 7, 1782 George Washington issued a field order for a Badge of Military Merit to recognize members of the Continental Army who performed “not only instances of unusual gallantry but also of extraordinary fidelity and essential service.
This was the first formal recognition of valor and was preceded by the Fidelity Medallion, a small pendant worn around the neck. The Fidelity Medallion was awarded to three New York soldiers in the Continental Army for their role in capturing Major John Andre, Benedict Arnold's contact in the British Army.
MEDAL OF HONOR
The Badge of Military Merit was the forerunner of today’s Medal of Honor. There are three distinct versions of the Medal of Honor: one for the Army, one of the Air Force, and one for the Navy which includes the Marine Corps and Coast Guard. According to http://valor.defense.gov/DescriptionofAwards.aspx, the Medal of Honor is conferred only upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty:
- While engaged in action against an enemy of the United States;
- While engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
- While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.
In 1918, Congress passed an act to provide for lesser awards so that commanders would have a way to recognize those who performed heroic acts that didn't qualify for the Medal of Honor. The first of those awards was the Distinguished Service Cross, followed by the Navy Cross in 1919, and the Air Force Cross in 1960. These awards are for “extraordinary heroism in actual combat with an opposing armed force.”
From left to right: The Distinguished Service Cross, The Navy Cross and the Air Force Cross.
The Silver Star, the third-highest military combat medal, is a successor to the Citation Star and is awarded for gallantry in action. Since 1932 between 100,000 and 150,000 Silver Stars have been awarded.
It is because of the valor of the men and women who have served and those who currently serve this nation that we have the freedoms we do. Men and women willing to give their lives for a cause they believe in.
My thanks and prayers go out to our service men and women this July 4th. May God keep a hedge of protection around them.
Shadows of the Past from Revell February 2014
I asked God to teach me patience and He gave me a book to write