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Freedom is not free. It is paid with every drop of blood, sweat, and tears of our men and women who serve or has served in the armed forces.

The Medal Of Honor and the Soldier

Since March 26, 1863, the Medal of Honor has been given to soldiers who have given their all or performed extraordinary feats on the battlefield. The medal is not something that soldiers seek to receive. It is a medal unlike any other in the ranks of the military. There are no requirements that automatically qualify a soldier to receive it. It is a medal that exemplifies the true meaning of honor.

The first soldiers to receive the Army's highest honor came from a Union Army scouting detachment known as “Andrews’s Raiders". Six of these soldiers were captured after an 1862 exploit that involved a daring mission to steal a Confederate railroad locomotive.

The story about their Medal of Honor presentation states that Private Jacob Parrot was the spokesperson for the six Union soldiers. He was only nineteen and was the youngest of the group. After their release, the soldiers were taken to Washington D.C. to debrief the Judge Advocate General about their last mission. During this debriefing, leaders of the Union learned that of the original 22 soldiers of "Andrews's Raiders" six had been executed, eight soldiers escaped successfully, and six had escaped and had been recaptured. For their heroic efforts in fighting for the Union, the six soldiers received $100 dollars, a commission in Ohio regiments, and the first medals of honor.

President Lincoln signed the Army Medal of Honor bill into law on 12 July 1862. The government contracted Wilson Silver Smiths in Philadelphia to produce the medals. The initial 500 medals were given to the War Department on February 14, 1863.

Since the Civil War, the Medal of Honor has been given to soldiers who faced incredible odds, resulting in extraordinary successes. While many of these medals have been given posthumously, they are just a small token of our appreciation to these brave soldiers who stood to defend our freedoms and our way of life.

Sacrifice for free is not duty but an honor.

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