|Presidential Medal of Freedom|
|Awarded by the President of the United States of America|
|Awarded for||"An especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."|
|Unknown; an average of fewer than 11 per year since 1993|
|Equivalent||Congressional Gold Medal|
|Next (lower)||Presidential Citizens Medal|
Service ribbon of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
(left: Medal with Distinction)
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the president of the United States. The Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal are the highest civilian awards of the United States. It recognizes those people who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors".The award is not limited to U.S. citizens and, while it is a civilian award, it can also be awarded to military personnel and worn on the uniform.
The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.
A Congressional Gold Medal is an award bestowed by the United States Congress. The Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom are the highest civilian awards in the United States. It is awarded to people "who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient's field long after the achievement." However, "There are no permanent statutory provisions specifically relating to the creation of Congressional Gold Medals. When a Congressional Gold Medal has been deemed appropriate, Congress has, by legislative action, provided for the creation of a medal on an ad hoc basis." U.S. citizenship is not a requirement.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
It was established in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy,superseding the Medal of Freedom that was established by President Harry S. Truman in 1945 to honor civilian service during World War II.
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy, often referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. He served at the height of the Cold War, and the majority of his presidency dealt with managing relations with the Soviet Union. A member of the Democratic Party, Kennedy represented Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate prior to becoming president.
The Medal of Freedom was a decoration established by President Harry S. Truman to honor civilians whose actions aided in the war efforts of the United States and its allies. It was intended to be awarded by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of War, or the Secretary of the Navy, but Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy also authorized awards.
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd president of the United States from 1945 to 1953, succeeding upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt after serving as vice president. He implemented the Marshall Plan to rebuild the economy of Western Europe, and established the Truman Doctrine and NATO.
In 2015, President Barack Obama stated that there was no precedent to revoke Presidential Medals of Freedom.
Barack Hussein Obama II is an American attorney and politician who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the first African American to be elected to the presidency. He previously served as a U.S. senator from Illinois from 2005 to 2008.
Similar in name to the Medal of Freedom,but much closer in meaning and precedence to the Medal for Merit, the Presidential Medal of Freedom is currently the supreme civilian decoration in precedence in the United States, whereas the Medal of Freedom was inferior in precedence to the Medal for Merit; the Medal of Freedom was awarded by any of three Cabinet secretaries, whereas the Medal for Merit was awarded by the president, as is the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The Medal for Merit was, during the period it was awarded, the highest civilian decoration of the United States. It was awarded by the President of the United States to civilians who "distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services" in the war effort "since the proclamation of an emergency by the President on September 8, 1939" Awards to civilians of foreign nations were eligible "only for the performance of exceptionally meritorious or courageous act or acts in furtherance of the war efforts of the United Nations."
President John F. Kennedy established the current decoration in 1963 through Executive Order 11085, with unique and distinctive insignia, vastly expanded purpose, and far higher prestige. —which may only be awarded to foreign heads of state—is a star decoration, but without a sash). The Executive Order calls for the medal to be awarded annually on or around July 4, and at other convenient times as chosen by the president, but it has not been awarded every year (e.g., 2001, 2010). Recipients are selected by the president, either on the president's own initiative or based on recommendations. The order establishing the medal also expanded the size and the responsibilities of the Distinguished Civilian Service Awards Board so it could serve as a major source of such recommendations.It was the first U.S. civilian neck decoration and, in the grade of Awarded With Distinction, is the only U.S. sash and star decoration (the Chief Commander degree of the Legion of Merit
The Legion of Merit (LOM) is a military award of the United States Armed Forces that is given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. The decoration is issued to members of the seven uniformed services of the United States as well as to military and political figures of foreign governments.
The Distinguished Civilian Service Awards Board was a board created for recommending civilians for awards from the U.S. Federal government for distinguished service. It was originally established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on June 27, 1957 by Executive Order 10717 to recommend to the President people in the U.S. Civil Service to receive the President's Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service. Its mandate was expanded via Executive Order 11085 by President John F. Kennedy on February 22, 1963, so that the board would recommend to the President people to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The medal may be awarded to an individual more than once; Colin Powell received two awards, his second being With Distinction;Ellsworth Bunker received both of his awards With Distinction. It may also be awarded posthumously (after the death of the originator); examples (in chronological order) include John F. Kennedy, Pope John XXIII, Lyndon Johnson, Paul "Bear" Bryant, Thurgood Marshall, Cesar Chavez, Roberto Clemente, Jack Kemp, Harvey Milk, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, Elouise Cobell, Grace Hopper, Antonin Scalia, Elvis Presley and Babe Ruth. (Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner, civil rights workers murdered in 1964, were awarded their medals in 2014, 50 years later.)
Colin Luther Powell is an American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. During his military career, Powell also served as National Security Advisor (1987–1989), as Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command (1989) and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989–1993), holding the latter position during the Persian Gulf War. Powell was the first, and so far the only, Jamaican American to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State, serving under U.S. President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005, the first black person to serve in that position.
Ellsworth F. Bunker was an American businessman and diplomat. He is perhaps best known for being a hawk on the war in Vietnam and Southeast Asia during the 1960s and 1970s. As of 2018, Bunker is one of two people to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom twice.
Pope John XXIII was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 28 October 1958 to his death in 1963; he was canonized on 27 April 2014. Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was one of thirteen children born to a family of sharecroppers who lived in a village in Lombardy. He was ordained to the priesthood on 10 August 1904 and served in a number of posts, as nuncio in France and a delegate to Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey. In a consistory on 12 January 1953 Pope Pius XII made Roncalli a cardinal as the Cardinal-Priest of Santa Prisca in addition to naming him as the Patriarch of Venice.
The badge of the Presidential Medal of Freedom is in the form of a golden star with white enamel, with a red enamel pentagon behind it; the central disc bears thirteen gold stars on a blue enamel background (taken from the Great Seal of the United States) within a golden ring. Golden North American bald eagles with spread wings stand between the points of the star. It is worn around the neck on a blue ribbon with white edge stripes.
A special rarely given grade of the medal, known as the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction,has a larger execution of the same medal design worn as a star on the left chest along with a sash over the right shoulder (similar to how the insignia of a Grand Cross is worn), with its rosette (blue with white edge, bearing the central disc of the medal at its center) resting on the left hip. When the medal With Distinction is awarded, the star may be presented descending from a neck ribbon and can be identified by its larger size than the standard medal (compare size of medals in pictures below).
Both medals may also be worn in miniature form on a ribbon on the left chest, with a silver North American bald eagle with spread wings on the ribbon, or a golden North American bald eagle for a medal awarded With Distinction. In addition, the medal is accompanied by a service ribbon for wear on military service uniform, a miniature medal pendant for wear on mess dress or civilian formal wear, and a lapel badge for wear on civilian clothes (all shown in the accompanying photograph of the full presentation set).
The Order of St. Andrew the Apostle the First-Called is the highest order of the Russian Federation. Established as the first and highest order of chivalry of the Russian Empire in 1698, it was abolished under the USSR before being re-established as the top Russian order in 1998.
The United States Armed Forces awards and decorations are primarily the medals, service ribbons, and specific badges which recognize military service and personal accomplishments while a member of the U.S. Armed Forces. Such awards are a means to outwardly display the highlights of a service member's career.
The Order of the Netherlands Lion, also referred to as the Order of the Lion of the Netherlands is a Dutch order of chivalry founded by King William I of the Netherlands on 29 September 1815.
The Presidential Citizens Medal is an award bestowed by the President of the United States. It is the second-highest civilian award in the United States, second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Established by executive order on November 13, 1969, by President Richard Nixon, it recognizes an individual "who has performed exemplary deeds or services for his or her country or fellow citizens." Only United States citizens are eligible for the medal, which may be awarded posthumously.
The Royal Norwegian Order of Saint Olav is a Norwegian order of chivalry instituted by King Oscar I on August 21, 1847. It is named after King Olav II, known to posterity as St. Olav.
Awards and decorations of the United States government are civilian awards of the U.S. federal government which are typically issued for sustained meritorious service, in a civilian capacity, while serving in the U.S. federal government. Certain U.S. government awards may also be issued to military personnel of the United States Armed Forces and be worn in conjunction with awards and decorations of the United States military. In order of precedence, those U.S. non-military awards and decorations authorized for wear are worn after U.S. military personal decorations and unit awards and before U.S. military campaign and service awards.
The Nishan-i-Imtiaz is one of the state organized civil decorations of State of Pakistan. It is the highest honour given to any civilian in Pakistan based on their achievements towards world recognition for Pakistan or an outstanding service for the country. However, The award is not limited to citizens of Pakistan and, while it is a civilian award, it can also be awarded to military personnel and worn on the uniform. Nishan, translates as Decoration/Order, is a highly restricted and prestigious award roughly equivalent to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Order of the British Empire, and is the first category award of Order of Imtiaz. The other three descending categories are Hilal-i-Imtiaz, Sitara-i-Imtiaz and Tamgha-e-Imtiaz. Usually, it is regarded as the highest award one can achieve in Pakistan since the higher award Nishan-e-Pakistan is awarded only to foreign Heads of States.
The Order "For Military Merit" is a military decoration of the Russian Federation established by presidential decree № 442 of March 2, 1994 to reward military excellence. Its statute was amended three times, first on January 6, 1999 by decree № 19, then on September 7, 2010 by decree № 1099 which modernised the entire Russian awards system and finally on December 16, 2011 by Presidential Decree № 1631.
The decorations for citizens who do great deeds for, or on behalf of, the country.
The Insigne des blessés civils is a French distinction for civilians, irrespective of age or sex, who have been injured or maimed as a result of war.
The Order "For Merit to the Fatherland" is a state decoration of the Russian Federation. It was instituted on March 2, 1994 by Presidential Decree 442. Until the re-establishment of the Order of St. Andrew in 1998, it was the highest order of the Russian Federation, though it is still the highest civilian decoration of the state. The Order of St. Andrew decoration is given to military personnel only. The order's status was modified on January 6, 1999 by Presidential Decree 19 and again on September 7, 2010 by Presidential Decree 1099.
The Hungarian Order of Merit is the second highest State Order of Hungary. Founded in 1991, the order is a revival of an original order founded in 1946 and abolished in 1949. Its origins can be traced to the Order of Merit of the Kingdom of Hungary which existed from 1922 until 1946.
The Royal Order of the Crown of Tonga is an Order of Merit awarded for exceptional services to Tonga and the Crown of Tonga.
The Order of the Druk Gyalpo is the highest decoration of the Kingdom of Bhutan, awarded in recognition of a lifetime of service to the people and Kingdom of Bhutan. Existing in two categories, it is the pinnacle of the honor system in Bhutan and takes precedence over all other orders, decorations and medals. Consisting of two Classes manufactured in sterling silver, the First Class comprises a Breast Star and Sash Badge while the Second Class has only a Sash and Badge.
The system of Orders, decorations, and medals of South Vietnam came into being with the establishment of the National Order of Vietnam in 1950. Established by Bảo Đại, the head of state of the State of Vietnam, the order was the highest award of the state for both civilians and military personnel. This level of precedence continued under the government of South Vietnam. Lower ranking awards for both the military and civilians were subsequently established. The systems of civilian and military awards had their own order of precedence.
The Decoration for Merit in Gold, post-nominal letters DMG, was instituted by the President of the Republic of South Africa in April 1996. It was awarded to veteran cadres of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the African National Congress, who had distinguished themselves during the "struggle" by outstanding service and utmost devotion to duty.
The Merit Medal in Silver, post-nominal letters MMS, was instituted by the President of the Republic of South Africa in April 1996. It was awarded to veteran cadres of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the African National Congress, who had distinguished themselves during the "struggle" by exceptionally meritorious service and particular devotion to duty.
The Order of the Leopard is a merit order of the former Republic of Bophuthatswana. The Order was instituted in order to recognise service to the people of the Republic of Bophuthatswana. It was instituted by the President of the Republic of Bophuthatswana by official Warrant on 28 December 1979.
In recognition of your legacy and service, of your courage and accomplishment, today, General Powell, I was honored to present you with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, with distinction. I want to tell all those here in attendance that this was the second Medal of Freedom you have received, the first from President Bush in 1991. And today, you became only the second American citizen in the history of the Republic to be the recipient of two Medals of Freedom.
There are two degrees of the Medal, the higher being the Presidential Medal of Freedom with distinction.
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Presidential Medal of Freedom .