Talk:Presidential Medal of Freedom

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Under section, History of the Award: "The medal may be awarded to an individual more than once". Yet Executive 9586 reads, "No more than one Medal of Freedom shall be awarded to any one person, but for a subsequent act or service justifying such an award a suitable device may be awarded to be worn with the medal." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:53, 5 February 2015 (UTC)

Chronological list of recipients[edit]

I know the alphabetical list is just terrific, but I also think there might be value in creating a chronological list of recipients. Any takers? If not, I'll get around to it. But which list should remain on this page? Perhaps a two column list with one column alphabetical and the other chronological? --ABQCat 04:03, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)How about you just do it yourself?

Created by Truman or FDR?[edit]

I could use some help clearing up a discrepancy. This article states that Truman created the Medal of Freedom in 1946. However, in editing the article about Carole Lombard (who died in 1942), I found lots of information which says that she was posthumously awarded the medal by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Truman's predecessor. Either this wasn't the medal she got, or else the medal was available before 1945, or else Roosevelt granted it after he left office - would someone help me straighten this out? - Brian Kendig 14:49, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Roosevelt didn't leave office - he died while in office. (talk) 19:17, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Further information re: original Medal of Freedom[edit]

The original Medal of Freedom award was established by Truman Executive Order 9586 in 1945 to award civilian recipients the civilian analogue to the military Medal of Honor. I believe the award was dropped after the war was over. At that time, not only the President, but other governemental entities could award the medal. It was called the "Medal of Freedom" - the word "Presidential" was not associated with the medal until Kennedy re-established the medal in 1963 as the "Presidential Medal of Freedom". This new medal was designed to be awarded to those who had a lifetime impact on American life, and hence could be awarded to journalists, artists, entertainers, sports figures, etc. I believe it is awarded only by the President. Physically, the original Medal of Freedom is a far different medal than the current Presidential Medal of Freedom. It appears to be a bronze 1" or so medal with the profile of a Roman warrior (?) and the word "Freedom" on it. It is suspended from a red ribbon with 4 narrow vertical white stripes. [Link to pictures of old and new medals removed 4/19/2006. DFJ]

My father, Howard M. Jenkins, was awarded the Medal of Freedom in 1945 for work he performed " the prosecution of the war against an enemy [Germany] from 1 June 1944 to 1 May 1945." I was present at the award ceremony, which took place in the President's Office at Swarthmore College. While the citation is dated July 6, 1945, I don't know the exact data of the award ceremony; I do have a memory of being excused from school (it may have been summer school) to attend the ceremony, and I have a picture of my dad having the medal pinned on him by an Army peek

I have never seen a list of other recipients of the Medal of Freedom, and would love to see such a listing.

(As far as Carole Lombard is concerned, Roosevelt could not have awarded her any medal after he left office - he died while still in office.)

David F. Jenkins

here is a list of the Medal of Freedom citations issued by Eisenhower and Kennedy[1] Patrickwooldridge (talk) 09:06, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

The (original) Medal of Freedom was never intended to be equivalent to the Medal of Honor. Even the Medal for Merit (superior in precedence to the Medal of Freedom) was awarded for "exceptionally meritorious conduct" (not valor or gallantry). A closer approximation between past civilian and current military awards would be that the Medal of Freedom is analogous to the Meritorious Service Medal, while the Medal for Merit is analogous to the Legion of Merit. Patrickwooldridge (talk) 21:40, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

For anyone not familiar with US military awards, I feel called to point out that the Meritorious Service Medal and Legion of Merit are rare and treasured awards; very few sevicepeople retire from service with an award (other than the Purple Heart) as high or higher than a Meritorious Service Medal - much less the Legion of Merit. Patrickwooldridge (talk) 21:10, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

Equal to Congressional Gold Medal or Medal of Honor?[edit]

I'm pretty sure the Presidential Medal of Freedom is considered the highest US civilian medal and the equal to the Medal of Honor, not the Congressional Gold Medal. Thoughts?

I believe the congressional gold medal is on the same level, but the Medal of Honor is for risking (or sacrificing) ones own life in the service of your country, or to protect others, while in the military. Skyintheeye (talk) 01:21, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
While there has never been any official declaration of precedence between the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, far fewer Congressional Gold Medals have been awarded than Presidential Medals of Freedom: (all figures as of August 2011) since 1776, 143 CGMs have been awarded (averaging less than two medals every three years), whereas since 1963 at least 492 PMOFs have been awarded (an average of over 10 per year). On this basis, one could infer that the Congressional Gold Medal (being a much rarer award - more than 17 times rarer per annum) takes precedence over the PMOF. Patrickwooldridge (talk) 21:10, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't have the time right now to look up the data, but it is conceivable that the PMOF (without distinction) may have a similar award rate to the Congressional Silver Medal while the PMOF with Distinction may more closely approximate the award frequency of the CGM. Patrickwooldridge (talk) 04:24, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
No agency of the U.S. (and specifically no branch of the Armed Services) attempts to make any equivalency between decorations awarded to serving members of the Armed Services and civilian awards. On any service uniform, all military decorations (including all unit decorations) take precedence over any civilian decorations. Patrickwooldridge (talk) 09:34, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

I think HST intended the Medal of Freedom to be the civilian equivalent to the Medal of Honor - not sure if that's what JFK intended or not. Dave (talk) 23:57, 28 February 2009 (UTC) Dave Jenkins

Truman's Medal of Freedom was for "...a meritorious act or service which has aided the United States in the prosecution of a war against an enemy or enemies and for which an award of another United States medal or decoration is considered inappropriate." and thus more like a civilian version of the Meritorious Service Medal than the Medal of Honor[2]. Further, the Medal for Merit was, even at the time, superior in precedence to the Medal of Freedom. When Kennedy established the (much more prestigious) Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963, it eclipsed in precedence both the Medal of Freedom and the Medal for Merit. Patrickwooldridge (talk) 09:34, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

I don't think the current Presidential MOF, albeit the highest civilian award, is considered to be the equivalent of the Medal of Honor, as was the original wartime Medal of Freedom, which was insitituted specifically to be the civilain equivalent of the military Medal of Honor.

Certainly the PMOF is not comparable to the MOH. Their parallels in the British honours system, for example, would be that the MOH is similar to the Victoria Cross, the PMOF similar to a Knight or Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and the PMOF with Distinction similar to a Knight or Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire. The United States has no decoration similar to the George Cross. Patrickwooldridge (talk) 09:34, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
What is it that tells you that the PMOF would be parallel with the Knight/Dame Commander OBE? I'm not saying you're wrong, but I don't see why they must be parallels. The MOH would parallel the VC because they are the highest military deocrations of the two respective countries--that analogy I get. But what's your source for making a parallel between the PMOF and a Knight/Dame Commander? I would think the parallel award would be the George Cross, since that's the highest civilian decoration of the UK. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:54, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
The George Cross is an award for (civilian) valor (the British call it "gallantry"); the PMOF has never been awarded for an act of valor. From Executive Order 11085: "The Medal (PMOF) may be awarded by the President as provided in this order to any person who has made an especially meritorious contribution to (1) the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors." The Order of the British Empire "recognises distinguished service to the arts and sciences, public services outside the Civil Service and work with charitable and welfare organisations of all kinds." I think the analogy as to grade of award (PMOF to Knight or Dame Commander and PMOFwD to Knight or Dame Grand Cross) is pretty close, but the PMOF is awarded for a range of contributions covered by distinct British orders of chivalry - e.g., British diplomats would receive The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George, etc. Patrickwooldridge (talk) 07:49, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Citizen's Medal[edit]

If anyone knows where there exists a link to info on the Presidential Citizen's Medal, please let me know. Would really like one with a picture. This decoration is opften confused with the Freedom Medal but it is a separate least I think it is. Husnock 22 Sep 04

re: Citizen's Medal[edit]

Just to confuse matters further, I believe that there's a "Defense of Freedom Medal", in addition to the original "Medal of Freedom", and the later "Presidential Medal of Freedom". Not sure there's really a medal named the "Freedom Medal" - that phrase is often used as shorthand for "Medal of Freedom" (Presidential or not).

David F. Jenkins

Another person who got this medal is famous Dutch resistance fighter Hannie Schaft. She was executed by the nazis in 1945, a month before the liberation. As one of the few Dutch women who took part in armed resistance she was infamous among the Nazis, the failure to capture her even frustrated Hitler himself. She was known as 'The girl with the red hair'. She was 24 when she was shot, her last words being (after a missed shot) "I shoot better then you". She received the medal in 1946.

re: MOF with Distinction[edit]

The article describes a sash and badge for the first degree of the Medal of Freedom, "With Disctinction," but I have been unable to find a picture of it.

Will someone please add?

I added a picture to the PMOF page of Donald Rumsfeld displaying his medal With Distinction ( some time ago, but someone has since deleted it. Patrickwooldridge (talk) 09:11, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
I threw together an image in Photoshop; it's not great, but it is reasonably accurate. Patrickwooldridge (talk) 19:45, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

Please see here for image use: Wikipedia:Image Use Policy Iamchado (talk) 02:14, 26 December 2014 (UTC)


Are there any criticisms of this award - like the President just giving it to people he happens to like?- Matthew238 06:04, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

This is a very eresting question; and I'd be interested in seeing such a section put in, given the relatively recent medals awarded to William Safire, George Tenet and Paul Bremer. Perhaps listing the awarding of these medals in chronological order could be done?Shabeki 05:40, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Movement of list to new article[edit]

Can we follow Congressional Gold Medal of Honor and move the list of recipients to a new page? -- SilverStartalk 02:01, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Nevermind, I was bold and did it myself. -- SilverStartalk 02:09, 27 October 2006 (UTC)


One presumes the origin of this award is in a perceived need for the U.S. to have the equivalent of a bigtime award for "services to humanity" or "to culture" or "to the nation", something equivalent to the O.B.E. (Britain) or the Legion of Honor (France). For a long time the U.S. was the only major country that had no equivalent. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:05, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

Major research fail...[edit]

Someone has the images of Tony Blair and John Howard marked as being awarded by President George W. Bush on January 13, 1999. That cannot possibly be correct, since Bush was not sworn in to office until January 20, 2001. Someone needs to get their facts straight... Blozier2006 (talk) 06:52, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Ben Carson won this medal in 2008[edit]

Somebody should add a photo of Ben Carson getting his medal to the gallery on this article — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:38, 21 April 2016 (UTC)

Gallery Page Unlinked[edit]

The gallery section is unlinked—I'm not sure how to do this but I thought I'd notify someone. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:20, 12 January 2017 (UTC)

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