Remembering the fewer than 3,500 men and women who have had their valor acknowledged with the Medal of Honor is the goal of H.R. 1209, which passed the House of Representatives in May. Action now shifts to the Senate.
The legislation would require the secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in 2011 in recognition and celebration of the establishment of the Medal of Honor in 1861 as “America’s highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States, to honor the American military men and women who have been recipients” of the award.
Sponsored by Rep Chris Carney, D-Pa., a second term member. The bill calls for up to 100,000 $5 gold pieces and up to 500,000 silver dollars
Medals of honor were first created in 1861 and thousands were awarded to Civil War veterans. Many of them were subsequently revoked.
The President, in the name of Congress, has awarded more than 3,400 Medals of Honor under the more restrictive conditions of post-Civil War America. About 97 are still alive.
Today, there are three different types of Medals of Honor: the original simple star shape established in 1861 which the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard have retained; a wreath version designed in 1904 for the Army; and an altered wreath version for the Air Force, designed in 1963 and adopted in 1965.
Action now shifts to the Senate which must approve it before it is sent to President Barrack Obama for signature into law.