KEY POINTS

  • National Medal of Honor Day is celebrated on March 25 every year
  • Over 3,500 Medals of Honor have been awarded to military personnel
  • Below are some facts about the award and some of its recipients

Serving your country is a privilege in itself, and receiving a Medal of Honor for that service is quite a big achievement. National Medal of Honor Day is commemorated to recognize all those who have earned the award.

The Medal of Honor is known as the highest award that a member of the armed forces can get, according to National Day Calendar. Created in the 1860s, the Medal of Honor may only be presented by the U.S. President, in the name of the Congress, to the  U.S. military personnel.

Since then, over 3,500 Medals of Honor have been awarded to military personnel who have gone "above and beyond the call of duty." And on March 25 each year, we celebrate those whose valiant efforts to serve the country have earned them the prestigious award.

On this day, let's have a look at some interesting facts about the Medal of Honor and some of its recipients. Courtesy -- National Day Calendar, Military Benefits, Home of Heroes, WETA and History.

  • Before the Medal of Honor, there were other similar awards, such as the Fidelity Medallion, George Washington's Bade of Military Merit, and the Medal of Valor.
  • The idea of the Medal of Honor was initially thought of as being "too European."
  • It is the only U.S. Military award that's worn from a ribbon around the neck.
  • A previous law signed by President George W. Bush imposed a punishment for falsely claiming to have a Medal of Honor, but the Supreme Court was struck it down in 2012, citing violations on freedom of speech.
  • There are versions of the Medal of Honor for the Army, Navy and the Air Force. Marine Corps and Coast Guard personnel receive the Navy version.
  • The first Medals of Honor were awarded to Army Pvt. Jacob Parrot and five others. They were the six "Andrew Raiders" who volunteered their service during an American Civil War.
  • Dr. Mary Edwards Walker is the only female Medal of Honor recipient. The award, which was presented to her by President Andrew Johnson in 1865, was revoked but was later restored in 1977, long after her death.
  • There is another woman whose name is on the back of the Medal of Honor. Jay R. Vargas, who was a Marine Captain at the time, asked his mother's name to be engraved at the back of his award and added to the roll as she died even before it was presented to him.
  • The youngest Medal of Honor Recipient was Willie Johnston, who was 11 years old when he enlisted in the Union Army with his father. He was 13 when he was granted the award.
  • President Theodore Roosevelt is the only president to have been awarded the Medal of Honor. It was posthumously awarded to him in 2001.
  • There are several double Medal of Honor recipients.
  • Part of the benefits of being in the Medal of Honor "Honor Roll" are increased military retirement pay, military burial honors and being eligible to be interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
  • President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to Army Ranger Sergeant 1st Class Leroy Petry, the second living soldier to win the military's highest decoration for actions in Afghanistan. Pictured: President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to Army Ranger Sergeant 1st Class Leroy Petry, the second living soldier to win the military's highest decoration for actions in Afghanistan. Photo: REUTERS