What Is The History Behind US Military Medals?

America is the land of the free because of our military heroes. Throughout the entire history of the United States of America, soldiers have given everything in the name of the red white and blue.  

Chances are that you have also probably had an encounter with one of these heroes.  

While there are ways they are celebrated collectively, such as through designated public holidays, there are also ways in which the military awards individuals who define what being a hero is. 

What better way to commemorate an American hero than by giving them a physical representation of the gratitude America has for them. 

 US military medals are a way to honor both the individual and preserve the history of the military. 

Just like the history of the United States, the history behind these heroic medals is quite impressive and just as important to understand. 

So what exactly is the history behind these medals that you ned to know about?

When did awarding of US Military Medals begin?

For as long as the United States military has been around, it seems as if there have always been some sort of military medal to award individuals with. In fact, military medals in general have long been a part of history. Back in the day, before the United States of America existed, other civilizations would award their war heroes with necklaces, bracelets or leather lappets to display their heroism. 

In America, military medals were first formally recognized by the first US President George Washington, who created the Purple Heart to honor soldiers who were injured in combat during the American Revolution. But medals of merit in the military only really became established during the American Civil War.  

Why do soldiers where their US Military Medals?

Back in the day, soldiers often wore their decorations on the left side of their uniform to act as a shield to protect their heart. However, it was not until the Spanish American War where military medals were authorized to become part of the official US Military uniform. 

When did US Military ribbons replace US military medals?

It is no surprise that military medals are big and take up quite a bit of space. And, they are heavy. By World War 1, the US military started replacing medals with ribbons to showcase honor and valor from combat. Not only did it allow for more to be worn but made the uniform look much tidier. From there, the ribbon bar became a thing, with a different ribbon bar representing different achievements. 

Are US Military Medals still important today?

Absolutely! Today, the medals and ribbons that a soldier wears mark their status in the military and give others a quick snapshot of their rankings and accomplishments. Even for those that are no longer serving, it is common to see them still proudly display their decorations to show the dedication they had to their service and their pride in the US Military. Some members even have so many awards that when they wear their entire collection on their uniform, they are told they are wearing a “scrambled egg and fruit salad”. 

A soldier fights long and hard before being awarded a coveted colored medal or ribbon. Each one has a special significance for their service, but all represent the incredible sacrifice they have made for their country and fellow citizens.  Getting a medal is not an easy task and is one of the proudest honors an American can receive. 

US Military Medals are a cherished part of the country that go out to the most deserving people and should be preserved with dignity and respect forever.