WASHINGTON — The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation announced it is accepting nominations for the Citizen Service Before Self Honors, which recognizes and honors ordinary Americans who become extraordinary through their courage and selflessness.
Citizen Service Before Self Honors are unique because they are presented to unsung heroes by our nation’s most honored heroes: the fewer than 90 living recipients of our nation’s highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor. The recipients comprise the exclusive, Congressionally chartered Medal of Honor Society.
Medal of Honor recipients encourage individuals to nominate any United States civilian who has demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice for others, whether through a single act of extraordinary heroism at risk to one’s life or through a prolonged series of selfless acts. The nominee’s actions must epitomize the concept of “service before self” and must be performed “above and beyond” one’s professional area of responsibility or conduct.
Citizens can submit an eligible nominee by completing the nomination form online at www.citizenservicebeforeselfhonors.org. The nomination period runs through Feb. 10.
This past year, marks the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln signing legislation establishing the Medal of Honor in 1861. The Medal is our nation’s highest award for military valor, and its monumental anniversary represents 150 years of courage and sacrifice on the part of the millions of men and women who defended our freedoms in uniform.
To commemorate this historic milestone, the Congress directed the Secretary of the Treasury to mint five-dollar gold coins and one-dollar silver coins honoring the Medal of Honor and those who have received this prestigious honor. The coins were also created as a tangible way for Americans everywhere to embrace what the Medal of Honor represents — courage and selflessness that are also embodied in the American spirit. The coins are available until Dec. 16, 2011 through the U.S. Mint’s website.
A panel, to include Medal of Honor recipient representation, will consider all nominations and select 20 national finalists. Finalists will be announced on Feb. 27. From among those finalists, a second panel of Medal of Honor recipients will select three individuals to receive Citizen Service Before Self Honors. The recipients will be announced on Monday, March 12, 2012, and honored at a ceremony on Friday, March 23, 2012, in conjunction with Medal of Honor Day. The ceremony will be held near the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington Cemetery.
Profiles for each of the finalists will be available on the Citizen Service Before Self Honors website and each finalist will receive an embossed framed certificate signed by the President of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society was chartered by Congress in 1958 to create a brotherhood among the living recipients. Today, there are fewer than 90 members ranging from age 23 to 94 living in all areas of the country.
For more information, visit www.cmohs.org.