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Today is National Medal of Honor Day

All three versions of the Medal of Honor. (U.S. Special Operations Command/Released)
March 25, 2020

Today is National Medal of Honor Day, a special day set aside to honor all recipients of the Medal of Honor — the United States’ highest military decoration.

Every March 25 commemorates the six-character trait pillars, courage, sacrifice, patriotism, citizenship, integrity, and commitment espoused by Medal of Honor recipients.

Congress passed a bill in 1990 to declare the holiday, which became Public Law 101-564 after President George H.W. Bush’s signature. National Medal of Honor Day was recognized for the first time in 1991.

The Medal of Honor was awarded for the first time on March 25, 1863 to Jacob Parrott for his actions in the April 1862 Great Locomotive Chase.

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The medal is an emblem of heroism and sacrifice. It is granted to those who “have distinguished themselves conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of their lives above and beyond the call of duty.”

It has been awarded to more than 3,500 heroes, according to the National Medal of Honor museum.

Of those 3,500 recipients, only one woman has received the honor.

There are three different versions of the medal; one each for the Army, Air Force, and Navy.

It is the only military honor that is worn around the neck, and garners such respect that all ranks of the military traditionally salute the recipient.