Presidential Medal of Freedom: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Presidential Medal of Freedom
Awarded by the President of the United States
Type Medal
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."
Status Active
Established 1945
First awarded 1946
257 [1]
Next (lower) Presidential Citizens Medal
Ribbon of Presidential Medal of Freedom.png
Ribbon bar of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is a decoration bestowed by the President of the United States and is, along with the equivalent Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress, the highest civilian award in the U.S. It recognizes those individuals 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.


History of the award

Medal and accoutrements including undress ribbon, miniature, and lapel badge.
Muhammad Ali's Presidential Medal of Freedom on display at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky. Received November 9th, 2005 (see article).

The Presidential Medal of Freedom has its roots in the Medal of Freedom established by President Harry S. Truman in 1945 to honor civilian service during World War II.[2] President John F. Kennedy nominally revived the medal in 1963 through Executive Order 11085. In practical terms, this order created what amounted to a new decoration, with totally different insignia, vastly expanded purpose, and far higher prestige.[3]

The medal is awarded annually, on or near the Fourth of July, and at other times as chosen by the President. Recipients are selected by the President, either on his own initiative or based on recommendations. The order reviving 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.

The medal may be awarded to an individual more than once (for example, John Kenneth Galbraith and Colin Powell), and may also be awarded posthumously (for example, Cesar Chavez, Paul "Bear" Bryant, Roberto Clemente, Jack Kemp, John F. Kennedy and Harvey Milk). Also Stephen Hawking was awarded the medal for his work to science and mathmetics.


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 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 grade of the medal, known as the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction, has the same medal worn as a star on the left chest; in addition, it is worn as a sash on the right shoulder, with its rosette (blue with white edge, bearing the central disc of the medal at its center) resting on the left hip.

Both medals may also be worn in miniature form on a ribbon on the left chest, with a silver American Bald Eagle with spread wings on the ribbon (or a golden American Bald Eagle if a medal "with Distinction"). In addition, the medal is accompanied by a ribbon bar for wear on military service uniform, a miniature medal pendant for wear on a mess dress, and a lapel badge for wear on civilian clothes (all shown in the accompanying photograph of the full presentation set).




See also


  1. ^ "Presidential Medal of Freedom", Notable Names Database (undated and with caveat lector: "It is not known how precisely many Medals of Freedom have been awarded, but the number exceeds 20,000."). Accessed August 22, 2009.
  2. ^ Executive Order 9586, signed July 6, 1945; Federal Register 10 FR 8523, July 10, 1945
  3. ^ Executive Order 11085, signed February 22, 1963; Federal Register 28 FR 1759, February 26, 1963

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