The Front Blog

Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

Datebook: December 21 – Medal of Honor Signed into Law 150 Years Ago

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Early in the Civil War, a medal for individual valor was proposed by Iowa Senator James W. Grimes to Winfield Scott, the Commanding General of the United States Army. Scott did not approve the proposal, but the medal did come into use in the Navy. Senate Bill 82, containing a provision for a “Medal of Honor”, was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on December 21, 1861. The medal was “to be bestowed upon such petty officers, seamen, landsmen, and Marines as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry and other seamanlike qualities during the present war.” Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles directed the Philadelphia Mint to design the new decoration. Shortly afterward, a resolution of similar wording was introduced on behalf of the Army and was signed into law on July 12, 1862. This measure provided for awarding a Medal of Honor, as the Navy version came to be called: “to such noncommissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldier-like qualities, during the present insurrection.” In total, 3475 medals have been awarded to 3456 different people. 19 men have been awarded twice. The first medal was awarded to Private Jacob Parrott during the Civil War. The only female recipient went to Civil War surgeon Mary Edwards Walker. A medal went to the British Unknown Warrior. And civilian pilot Charles Lindbergh. Also 65 Canadians serving in the U.S. armed forces have been awarded.

It’s Wednesday, December 21

Tomorrow Western Baptist Hospital Foundation in Paducah has a Christmas star reception in the atrium of Doctors Building 2. The employee’s choir sings carols and light refreshments will be served.

Martin native, Author and former Westview High School teacher Jeff Kurrus will be at the C.E. Weldon public library, 100 Main Street in Martin, Tennessee, tomorrow from 6-8 p.m. to sign copies of his book, “Have You Seen Mary?” It’s a photography book for kids about sandhill cranes. Kurrus is associate editor of NEBRASKAland Magazine.

Tomorrow there’s a Ballard Community blood drive in the meeting room of the Extension Service at 110 Broadway in LaCenter from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Enter sponsor code Ballard 19 when you go to redcrossblood.org to make an appointment.

The Badgett Playhouse in Grand Rivers offers its final staging of The Sanders Family Christmas tomorrow night at 7.

Tomorrow at noon hear A Chanticleer Christmas on 913. See our holiday feature schedule at wkms.org, where both 913 WKMS HD1and WKMS HD2 classical — stream live.

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