The Medal of Honor is the highest and most prestigious military decoration given in this country — it recognizes U.S. military service members who distinguish themselves by acts of valor.
Because the medal is presented “in the name of Congress,” it is sometimes referred to as the Congressional Medal of Honor.
There are three versions of the medal: one for the Army, one for the Navy, and one for the Air Force. (Marine Corps and Coast Guard personnel receive the Navy version.) The Medal of Honor is the oldest continuously issued combat decoration of the United States Armed Forces.
Presentation of the Medal of Honor is usually done in a formal ceremony at the White House by the president, which is intended to represent the gratitude of the American people. Posthumous presentations are made to the next of kin.
Of the 3,517 Medals of Honor awarded since its inception, 19 distinguished servicemen have received two awards of the Medal. They may have come to America from different lands — some of them did — and have different backgrounds, but they all had one important quality in common: uncommon bravery.
A fair number of them are also buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
Scroll through this gallery to meet some of these incredible American heroes of the past!