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The Presidential Medal of Freedom
Medal of Freedom
is an award bestowed by the President of the United States
President of the United States
and is—along with the comparable Congressional Gold Medal—the highest civilian award 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".[2] 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. It was established in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy,[3] superseding the Medal of Freedom
Medal of Freedom
that was established by President Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
in 1945 to honor civilian service during World War II.

Contents

1 History of the award 2 Insignia 3 Recipients

3.1 Gallery

4 See also 5 References 6 External links

History of the award[edit] Similar in name to the Medal of Freedom,[2] 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
Medal of Freedom
was inferior in precedence to the Medal for Merit; the Medal of Freedom
Medal of Freedom
was awarded by any of three Cabinet secretaries, whereas the Medal for Merit
Medal for Merit
was awarded by the president, as is the Presidential Medal of Freedom.[4] President John F. Kennedy
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.[1] 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—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,[4] 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
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; Colin Powell received two awards, his second being With Distinction;[5] Ellsworth Bunker received both of his awards With Distinction. It may also be awarded posthumously; examples (in chronological order) include John F. Kennedy, Pope John XXIII, Lyndon Johnson, Paul "Bear" Bryant, Thurgood Marshall, Cesar Chavez, Roberto Clemente, Jack Kemp, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, Elouise Cobell, and Grace Hopper.[6] (Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner, civil rights workers murdered in 1964, were awarded their medals in 2014, 50 years later.) Insignia[edit]

Medal and accoutrements including undress ribbon, miniature, and lapel badge.

Graphical representation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Medal of Freedom
with Distinction

The badge of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
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, rarely given grade of the medal, known as the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Medal of Freedom
with Distinction,[7] 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 American bald eagle with spread wings on the ribbon, or a golden 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). Recipients[edit] See also: List of Presidential Medal of Freedom
Medal of Freedom
recipients Gallery[edit]

Civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph
A. Philip Randolph
receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Medal of Freedom
from President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964.

President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
and the Apollo 13 crew (right to left: Jack Swigert, Jim Lovell
Jim Lovell
and Fred Haise) after being presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, 1970.

President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
presenting Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa
with the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Medal of Freedom
at a White House, 1985

Former United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Medal of Freedom
from President George H. W. Bush, 1991

George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
awarding former President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Medal of Freedom
with Distinction, 1993

"The Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin
wipes a tear after being honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Medal of Freedom
alongside historian Robert Conquest, left, and economist Alan Greenspan, 2005

Former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair
Tony Blair
receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Medal of Freedom
from President George W. Bush, 2009

President Barack Obama awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Medal of Freedom
with Distinction to Vice President Joe Biden, 2017

See also[edit]

Awards and decorations of the United States
United States
government Awards and decorations of the United States
United States
military Bharat Ratna
Bharat Ratna
(India) Federal Cross of Merit
Federal Cross of Merit
(Germany) Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana
Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana
(Italy) Légion d'honneur
Légion d'honneur
(France) Order of Merit
Order of Merit
(United Kingdom and Commonwealth) Order of Australia Knight Bachelor
Knight Bachelor
(United Kingdom) Order of Canada Order of St. Andrew
Order of St. Andrew
(Russia)

References[edit]

^ a b Executive Order 11085, signed February 22, 1960; Federal Register 28 ^ a b Executive Order 9586, signed July 6, 1945; Federal Register 10 FR 8523, July 10, 1945 ^ "President Kennedy's Executive Order 11085: Presidential Medal of Freedom - John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
Presidential Library & Museum". www.jfklibrary.org. Retrieved 2017-08-29.  ^ a b "U.S. Senate: Presidential Medal of Freedom
Medal of Freedom
Recipients". 17 November 2015. Retrieved 6 May 2016.  ^ Clinton, W. J. (September 30, 1993). "Remarks on the Retirement of General Colin Powell
Colin Powell
in Arlington, Virginia". University of California, Santa Barbara: The American Presidency Project. Retrieved September 18, 2016. 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
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.  ^ US White House
White House
(November 16, 2016). "President Obama Names Recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom". Retrieved 22 Nov 2016.  ^ Torreon, Barbara Salazar (31 Mar 2004). A Guide to Major Congressional and Presidential Awards (PDF). CRS Report for Congress. RS20884. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service – Library of Congress ( United States
United States
Government). p. 4. Retrieved 2011-02-09. There are two degrees of the Medal, the higher being the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Medal of Freedom
with distinction. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Presidential Medal of Freedom.

"Presidential Medal of Freedom", an article (undated) from jfklibrary.org, the John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
Presidential Library and Museum's official website. Accessed August 22, 2009. "Presidential Medal of Freedom
Medal of Freedom
Recipients", a list of recipients from May 5, 1993, through August 19, 2009, from senate.gov, the U.S. Senate's official website. Accessed August 22, 2009. "President Bush Honors Medal of Freedom
Medal of Freedom
Recipients", a news release from the White House
White House
Press Secretary, December 15, 2006, containing a transcript of President George W. Bush's opening remarks at the December 15, 2006, presentation (with link to individual citations). Hosted on georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov, a section of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration's official website. Accessed August 22, 2009. " Medal of Freedom
Medal of Freedom
Ceremony" (August 12, 2009), a news release, August 12, 2009, from the White House
White House
Press Secretary at whitehouse.gov, the White House's official website. Accessed August 22, 2009. Sanger, David E., "War Figures Honored With Medal of Freedom", The New York Times,

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