Honoring Veterans with Military Medals - Guide to Greater Tampa Bay
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Honoring Veterans with Military Medals

Honoring Veterans with Military Medals

Veterans Day is a day to celebrate and pay tribute to military veterans. Veterans put their lives at risk to protect the freedom of all Americans. One way society shows respect and gratitude to armed service members is by honoring members with medals and ribbons.

While civilians often see these medals decorating veterans’ uniforms, they may wonder what meaning they hold. Most importantly, those medals provide a visualization of heroism.

Branches of the Military

There are seven unique branches of the military: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, Coast Guard and National Guard. Each branch has many unique and notable medals and ribbons.

There are a few medals that stand out as being some of the most significant awards a service member can be awarded. 

Prestigious Military Medals

The highest-ranking medal in any branch of the military is the Medal of Honor, also known as the Congressional Medal of Honor. It is awarded to active service members who go above and beyond the call of duty.

These service members exhibit “exemplary selflessness, unwavering devotion, conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary heroism,” according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

Out of the 3,515 Medal of Honor award recipients, only 65 are alive today. 

The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest medal given to a soldier serving in the Army. The Navy Cross is the second highest medal given to sailors or marines. The Air Force Cross is the second highest medal given to an airman.

These prestigious cross medals are awarded for exceptional heroism. 

The Silver Star is the third-highest military combat decoration given to a member of the U.S. Armed Service for courage in action. 

See Also

Perhaps the most well-known military medal is the Purple Heart. This medal is given to anyone serving in the U.S. military who has been wounded or killed as a result of enemy combat.

George Washington created the first version of the Purple Heart. It was then known as the Badge of Military Merit. The Purple Heart is the oldest military medal.

Showing Gratitude to Veterans

Medals are just one way Americans can express eternal appreciation to service members. These heroes have risked their lives for their fellow service members, their country and the civilians who rely on service members to keep them safe.

By Simone Flanigan.

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