see it clearly

Are you interested in learning more about Medal of Honor Winners? The people who win Medals of Honor are the soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and coast guardsmen who protect the US nation, but the award is only given out to those who go above and beyond at risk of their own life.

Winning the Medal of Honor is no small feat -- it is the highest military recognition in the United States. This medal is awarded by the government to individuals who distinguish themselves as members of the military while serving in duty against an enemy of the United States.

How One Receive a Medal of Honor

Medal of Honor Winners

Among other requirements, the criteria states that recipients serve with "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States."

This award is often presented after the death of the recipient due to the very nature of the award. When a person is awarded a Medal of Honor, it is presented by the President of the United States to the individual or to the next of kin of the individual, should the individual have died in combat.

Medal of Honor Winners Over the Centuries

The Medal of Honor is rarely awarded. As of 2010, there have only been 3,465 Medal of Honor awards given by the United States government, 618 of which were awarded posthumously. The Medal of Honor tradition began during the American Civil War (1861-1865), when 1,522 awards were given.

Prior to 1973, there was no official record keeping of the prior award winners. The United States Senate then ordered for a list to be put together so that Medal of Honor Winners could be documented and their acts of valor could be remembered.

During what is known as the Indian Wars, the conflicts between the Native American population and the United States federal government or the colonial government, 426 awards were given for bravery and gallantry. Throughout the United States expedition to Korea in 1871, 14 people were awarded the medal. The Samoan Civil War in the late nineteenth century produced four winners while the Philippine-American War, fought between 1899 through 1902, saw the first Asian recipient (Jose B. Nisperos).

Fifty-nine American servicemen received awards during the Boxer rebellion. During the United States occupation of Veracruz in 1914, the Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels ordered that an award be given to all 56 participants of the occupation, which was the largest number for any one action before that moment or since. Since then, the award has become more difficult to achieve: although thousands died during World War II, only 464 awards were given to United States Military personnel during that time.

Medal of Honor Awards for Canadians

Many United States citizens might be surprised to learn that U.S. citizenship is not a prerequisite to win the Medal of Honor award, despite the fact that many people are under the misconception that only Americans have won the award.

Although it is a rare occasion, several Canadians have won the award for serving in or alongside the United States armed forces–sixty one, in fact. However, only four awards have been given to Canadians since 1900. The last one was awarded to Peter C. Lemon, who was the sole Medal of Honor winner during the Vietnam War.

The Medal of Honor Today

Not many awards have been awarded since the Vietnam War with only two Medal of Honor winners being named since 2001: Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti and Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy.