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Medal of Freedom

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Medal of Freedom

Medal of Freedom
Medal with palm device
Awarded by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of War, or the Secretary of the Navy
Country  United States
Type Medal
Eligibility Any person not a member of the armed forces of the United States
Awarded 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"
Status Replaced 22 February 1963 by Presidential Medal of Freedom[1]
First awarded 1946
Last awarded 1961
Total awarded over 20,000
Next (higher) Medal for Merit
Next (lower) unspecified

Ribbon bar of the medal

The Medal of Freedom was a decoration established by President Harry S. Truman to honor civilians whose actions aided in the war efforts of the United States and its allies. It was intended to be awarded by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of War, or the Secretary of the Navy, but it is known that Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy also authorized awards.[2]


The medal is a bronze disc whose obverse features the profile bust facing left of an individual wearing a cap resembling an American bald eagle ornamented by stars, with the word "FREEDOM" in capital letters in an arc at the bottom of the disc. The reverse features the Liberty Bell surrounded by the words "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in capital letters. The medal is suspended on a red ribbon with four thin white stripes. The original Executive Order 9586 establishing the medal specified "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"[3] and bronze, silver, and gold palm devices were produced and awarded, but there is no evidence of U.S. citizens having received these palm devices, whereas non-U.S. citizens did receive quite a number of them, and these devices have been interpreted as signifying degrees of the award.[4][5]


Without palm
With bronze palm
With silver palm
With gold palm

See also


  1. ^ Executive Order 11085
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Executive Orders Harry S. Truman 1945-1953". Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  4. ^ "The OMSA Medal Database - WWII Medal of Freedom". OMSA. 2010-11-21. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  5. ^ "The OMSA Medal Database - Medal of Freedom with Gold Palm". OMSA. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 

External links

  • U.S. Medal of Freedom Recipients, 1954–1961
  • U.S. Medal of Freedom Recipients, 1949
  • U.S. Medal of Freedom Recipients, 1948
  • U.S. Medal of Freedom Recipients, 1947
  • U.S. Medal of Freedom Recipients, 1946
  • U.S. Medal of Freedom Recipients, 1945
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