The Most Prestigious Civilian Award in America
Every day in this country, ordinary Americans become extraordinary. It can happen in a single instance of bravery, or through a lifetime of service to others. These acts of courage and self-sacrifice symbolize the American spirit, and are recognized every year on National Medal of Honor Day, by our nation’s greatest heroes.
Each year, after a nationwide search, three United States citizens are chosen to receive Citizen Service Before Self Honors. The honorees receive this award from a group of Americans whose actions have defined the word courage – the fewer than 85 living members of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. These brave men have received the Medal of Honor for their acts of valor performed during wartime.
To be considered for this rare civilian honor, nominees must have made a difference in the lives of others through a singular act of extraordinary heroism, or through their continued commitment to putting others first. For Americans, this is an opportunity to nominate fellow citizens, neighbors and co-workers-the heroes all around you. Three remarkable citizens will be chosen to receive the Citizen Service Before Self Honors on March 25, 2013 in conjunction with National Medal of Honor Day.
The site selected for this historic ceremony is the ultimate symbol of anonymous heroism – the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. The anonymous soldiers who have found eternal rest in the Tomb have been presented with our nation’s highest award for valor in combat, The Medal of Honor. On the east side of the Tomb is a sculpture of three Greek citizens, each representing the virtues of Peace, Victory and Valor. To show the link between anonymous heroism in and out of uniform, the Society has placed these figures on the Citizen Service Before Self Honors medals.
This year marks the 150th anniversary that the first Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded on March 25, 1863. These first Medals were awarded to a group of six men for valiant acts during the Civil War. This monumental anniversary represents 150 years of courage and sacrifice on the part of the millions of men and women in uniform who defended our freedoms.
Citizen Service Before Self Honors was previously known as Above & Beyond Citizen Honors. Despite the slight name change to better reflect the award’s intentions, the prestige, selection criteria and process, and support by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society have not altered.