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Presidential Medal of Freedom

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noun
a medal awarded by the president of the U.S. to any citizen who has made an exceptionally meritorious contribution to the security or national interest of the U.S., to world peace, or to cultural or other significant endeavors.
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Formerly Medal of Freedom .

Origin of Presidential Medal of Freedom

An Americanism dating back to 1960–65; originally, its name was Medal of Freedom, established in 1945 by President Harry S. Truman to honor civilian serivce in World War II; its name was changed to its current name by President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

MORE ABOUT PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM

What is the Presidential Medal of Freedom?

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award presented by the president of the United States to a civilian who has made an exceptional or large contribution to national security, public interest, world peace, or cultural development in America.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor in the United States. While the president ultimately decides award winners, candidates are recommended to them by the Distinguished Civilian Service Award Board (DCSAB). The Presidential Medal of Freedom is often awarded to American civilians, but it can be awarded to US military personnel or people from outside the United States.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom itself is a metallic pendant with a large white star, 13 gold stars, gold eagles, and the recipient’s name engraved. It hangs from a blue ribbon that can be worn around the neck or attached to one’s uniform (if the recipient is in the military).

When is the Presidential Medal of Freedom given out?

The Presidential Medal of Freedom was created by President Harry S. Truman by Executive Order. It was originally intended to be given out annually on July 4 as part of the United States’ Independence Day, but it can also be given out whenever the president sees fit.

More information and context on the Presidential Medal of Freedom

In 1945, Truman signed Executive Order 9586, establishing the Medal of Freedom. It was only to be given out to members of the military and civilians who served the country overseas in any war after 1941, with the intent that it could be used to award those who participated in World War II.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 11085, which renamed the award the Presidential Medal of Freedom and changed the criteria so that it could be given to any civilian who made a large contribution to security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural, or significant public or private efforts.  Kennedy selected his first set of Presidential Medal of Freedom winners before he was assassinated and his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, awarded Kennedy a Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously the following month.

What are some terms that often get used in discussing the Presidential Medal of Freedom?

How is the Presidential Medal of Freedom discussed in real life?

Because the Presidential Medal of Freedom is not a common award and is awarded by the president, it is seen as a great honor.

 

 

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True or False?

You do not have to be an American citizen to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

How to use Presidential Medal of Freedom in a sentence

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