Orders & Medals Society of America Forums American Medal Collecting Federal Medals Medal of Freedom (1945): List of recipients

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  • #38993
    Gary Blakeley
    Participant

    I am new to American medal collecting so please excuse me if this is an ignorant question.

    I am interested in the Medal of Freedom (1945), created during Harry S. Truman’s presidency. On its Wikipedia page the total awarded is simply shown as being over 20,000. Is there a publicly accessible medal roll that lists the recipients?

    #39178
    megan
    Moderator

    You’re right, finding out who received the Truman Medal of Freedom seems quite tricky. I found plenty about recipients of the 1963 version.

    Here’s Truman’s executive order establishing it:

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 9586

    THE MEDAL OF FREEDOM

    By virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States and as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, it is hereby ordered as follows:

    There is hereby established a medal to be known as the Medal of Freedom with accompanying ribbons and appurtenances for award to any person, not hereinafter specifically excluded, who, on or after December 7, 1941, has performed 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. The Medal of Freedom may also be awarded to any person, not hereinafter specifically excluded, who, on or after December 7, 1941, has similarly aided any nation engaged with the United States in the prosecution of a war against a common enemy or enemies.

    The Medal of Freedom shall not be awarded to a citizen of the United States for any act or service performed within the continental limits of the United States or to a member of the armed forces of the United States.

    The Medal of Freedom and appurtenances thereto shall be of appropriate design, approved by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of War, and the Secretary of the Navy, and may be awarded by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of War, or the Secretary of the Navy, or by such officers as the said Secretaries may respectively designate. Awards shall be made under such regulations as the said Secretaries shall severally prescribe and such regulations shall, insofar as practicable, be of uniform application.

    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. The Medal of Freedom may be awarded posthumously.

    HARRY S. TRUMAN
    THE WHITE HOUSE,
    July 6, 1945.

    #39179
    megan
    Moderator

    He later widened the scope of the award via a second executive order:

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 10336

    AMENDMENT OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9586 (1) OF JULY 6, 1945, ESTABLISHING THE MEDAL OF FREEDOM

    Executive Order No. 9586 of July 6, 1945, establishing the Medal of Freedom, is hereby amended to read as follows:

    “By virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States and as Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the United States, it is ordered as follows:

    “1. There is hereby established a medal to be known as the Medal of Freedom, with accompanying ribbons and appurtenances. The Medal and its appurtenances shall be of appropriate design, approved by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense.

    “2. (a) The Medal of Freedom may be awarded to any person not hereinafter specifically excluded who, on or after December 7, 1941, has performed a meritorious act or service which (1) has aided the United States in the prosecution of a war against an enemy or enemies, (2) has aided any nation engaged with the United States in the prosecution of a war against a common enemy or enemies, or (3), during any period of national emergency declared by the President or the Congress to exist, has furthered the interests of the security of the United States or of any nation allied or associated with the United States during such period, and for which act or service the award of any other United States medal or decoration is considered inappropriate.

    “2. (b) Under special circumstances, and without regard to the existence of a state of war or national emergency, the Medal of Freedom may also be awarded by, or at the direction of, the President to any person, not hereinafter specifically excluded, for performance of a meritorious act or service in the interests of the security of the United States.

    “3. The Medal of Freedom shall not be awarded to a citizen of the United States for any act or service performed within the continental limits of the United States or to a member of the armed forces of the United States.

    “4. The Medal of Freedom may be awarded by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Navy, or the Secretary of the Air Force, or by such officers as they may respectively designate. Awards shall be made under such regulations as the said Secretaries shall severally prescribe, and such regulations shall, so far as practicable be of uniform application.

    “5. The head of any department or agency of the United States not named herein may recommend to the Secretary of Defense the award of the Medal of Freedom and appurtenances thereto for meritorious acts or services performed under the cognizance or direction of the head of such department or agency, and the Secretary of Defense may make such awards.

    “6. 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.

    “7. The Medal of Freedom may be awarded posthumously.”

    HARRY S. TRUMAN
    THE WHITE HOUSE,
    April 3, 1952

    #39183
    Gary Blakeley
    Participant

    Thanks for responding. The information you provided is very interesting.

    Am I right in thinking that the original Medal of Freedom was somewhat unloved, and that it was only after the Kennedy administration revamped it that its status improved?

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