Medal of Freedom (1945)

The Medal of Freedom was a decoration established by President Harry S. Truman to honor civilians whose actions aided in the war efforts of the United States and its allies during and beyond World War II. It was intended to be awarded by the secretary of state, the secretary of war, or the secretary of the navy, but presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy also authorized awards.[3] The first woman and American citizen to receive it was Anna M. Rosenberg by Robert P. Patterson on the recommendation of Eisenhower.[4][5]

Medal of Freedom
Medaloffreedom.jpgMedal of Freedom, reverse side.png
Obverse and reverse of medal with palm device
Awarded for"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"
Country United States
Presented bythe Secretary of State, Secretary of War or Secretary of the Navy
EligibilityAny person not a member of the armed forces of the United States
StatusReplaced 22 February 1963 by Presidential Medal of Freedom[1]
First awarded1945
Last awarded1962[2]
TotalOver 20,000
Medal of Freedom.svg
Ribbon bar of the medal
Next (higher)Medal for Merit
Next (lower)unspecified


The medal is a bronze disc whose obverse features the profile of the Statue of Freedom of the US Capitol Building, with the word "FREEDOM" in capital letters in an arc at the bottom of the disc. The reverse features the Liberty Bell surrounded by the words "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in capital letters. The medal is suspended on a red ribbon with four thin white stripes. The original Executive Order 9586 establishing the medal specified "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"[6] and bronze, silver, and gold palm devices were produced and awarded. There is no evidence of U.S. citizens having received these palm devices, whereas some non-U.S. citizens did receive them (e.g. Micheline "Michou" Dumon and Nancy Wake), and the devices have been interpreted as signifying degrees of the award.[7][8]


Without palm

With bronze palm

With silver palm

With gold palm

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Kennedy, John F. (22 February 1963). "The Presidential Medal of Freedom". Executive Order 11085. United States Government. Retrieved 24 June 2015. The Medal of Freedom is hereby reestablished as the Presidential Medal of Freedom, with accompanying ribbons and appurtenances.
  2. ^ "Journal of the Orders & Medals Society of America; Volume 14, Issue 1" (PDF). OSMA. January 1963. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  3. ^ Peters, Gerhard; Woolley, John T. (24 June 1980). "Interview With the President Responses to Written Questions Submitted by the EFE Spanish News Agency". The American Presidency Project. University of California, Santa Barbara. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Anna Rosenberg, first woman to receive Medal of Freedom". Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  5. ^ "Photo of Mrs. Anna Rosenberg being presented the Medal of Freedom by Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson". Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  6. ^ "Executive Orders Harry S. Truman 1945–1953". Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  7. ^ "The OMSA Medal Database – WWII Medal of Freedom". OMSA. 21 November 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  8. ^ "The OMSA Medal Database – Medal of Freedom with Gold Palm". OMSA. Retrieved 15 November 2011.

External linksEdit