The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation and Society today on Medal of Honor Day launched the 150th Anniversary of the Medal of Honor with a formal ceremony at the Hall of Heroes in the Pentagon. Admiral Mike G. Mullen, USN, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, hosted the ceremony. A select group of nearly 100 attended the historic ceremony, including senior military and spouses, civilian leaders, Pentagon officials, and more than 30 Medal of Honor recipients—those bestowed our nation’s highest award for military valor.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Medal of Honor, which President Abraham Lincoln signed into law in 1861. This monumental anniversary represents 150 years of courage and sacrifice on the part of the millions of men and women who have defended our freedoms in uniform. Throughout the year, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and Foundation will host a series of events to celebrate and educate Americans about the Medal’s history, ideals and significance.
The Medal of Honor’s 150th Anniversary Ceremony included the President of the Medal of Honor Society Leo Thorsness, who talked about the significance of the Medal of Honor and how the Medal of Honor recipients had chosen to celebrate this milestone, as well as the day set aside to honor them. Leadership of each service branch spoke about their respective service’s history in relation to the Medal of Honor.
Program participants included Vice Admiral Dirk J. Debbink, Chief of Navy Reserve; General Peter W. Chiarelli, Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army; Lieutenant General Willie J. Williams, USMC, Director of Marine Corps Staff; General Norton A. Schwartz, Chief of Staff of the Air Force; and, Vice Admiral John P. Currier, Chief of Staff, U.S. Coast Guard.