National Medal of Honor Day – March 25
National Medal of Honor Day is observed every year on March 25 and is dedicated to Medal of Honor Recipients. Each branch of the U.S. military awards the Medal of Honor to those who have distinguished themselves “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity” above and beyond the call of duty, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs official site.
The first Medals of Honor were awarded on March 25, 1863. When Congress passed a resolution in 1990 establishing National Medal of Honor Day, March 25th became the official nationwide holiday honoring the medal and its recipients.
Celebrating National Medal of Honor Day
National Medal of Honor Day is not a federal holiday; banks do not close, U.S. Post Office facilities remain open, and there are no school closings. Many of the ceremonies and other forms of observance take place on military bases, national cemeteries, and in local communities. It is not uncommon for the President of the United States to visit or gather MoH recipients to pay respects to their sacrifices. Visits to Arlington National Cemetery or similar facilities are also traditional ways of paying respects on March 25th.
Public ceremonies aren’t the only way to commemorate March 25th; private citizens can do several things to observe National Medal of Honor Day:
- Fly the United States flag at a residence or business
- “Adopt” the gravesite of a MoH recipient
- Attend a “retreat” ceremony honoring the fallen with “Taps” and the lowering of the flag
- Attend ceremonies honoring living MoH recipients
- Donate to or support MoH societies, Veterans Service Organizations, and veteran-oriented museums