Congressional Gold Medal

Award bestowed by the United States Congress / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Congressional Gold Medal is an award bestowed by the United States Congress. It is the highest civilian award in the United States, alongside the Presidential Medal of Freedom.[1] The Gold Medal seeks to impart the highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions by individuals or institutions.[2]

Quick facts: Congressional Gold Medal, Type, Awarded for, ...
Congressional Gold Medal
Etching of medal awarded to John Paul Jones, the only Continental Navy officer to be awarded a gold medal
TypeCivilian award
Awarded for"National appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions by individuals or institutions".
CountryUnited States of America
Presented byUnited States Congress
First awarded1776
Total recipients173

The congressional practice of issuing gold medals to occasionally honor recipients began with members of the military during the American Revolution. The practice soon extended to individuals in all walks of life and in the late 20th century also to groups. The congressional medal seeks to honor those, individually or as a group, "who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient's field long after the achievement."[3] There is no general statutory scheme for creation of the award: when a Congressional Gold Medal is deemed appropriate, Congress by legislative action provides for the creation of each medal by passing a specific law to that effect.[3] Thus, there are generally fewer gold medals than presidential medals. U.S. citizenship is not a requirement.

As of June 24, 2021, 173 institutions, people, or events have been awarded a Congressional Gold Medal.[4]