Military decorations began early in the American Revolution when Congress voted to award gold medals to outstanding military leaders. The first of these special medals was given to George Washington for his service expelling the British from Boston in 1776.
In 1782, George Washington established the Badge of Military Merit, the first U.S. decoration that recognized the extraordinary accomplishments of the enlisted man. In 1932, Washington’s, Badge of Military Merit was revived and named, The Purple Heart. It includes the likeness of Washington on the face and, “for Military Merit”, appears on the back.
In 1861, the Medal of Honor was established for the enlisted personnel of the U.S. Navy, followed the next year by the creation of its Army counterpart for NCO’s and private soldiers. Officers were made eligible for the award in later years.
The Motts Military Museum contains within its walls, the military decorations of soldiers, sailors, and airmen. Behind each of these medals is the true story of heroism.