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Honoring Valor: The History and Heritage of Military Medals

Evening Seminar

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1H0846
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As a nation, we take our military medals seriously—and for good reason. Some are given for acts of valor, usually involving service above and beyond the call of duty in difficult and dangerous circumstances. Others, such as the Purple Heart, are awarded to honor those who have been wounded or killed in battle. All celebrate courage.

Fred L. Borch, an expert on U.S. military awards, explores the origins and evolution of America's decorations for combat heroism including the Army, Navy and Air Force Medals of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, Air Force Cross, Silver Star, and Bronze Star Medals. From the first Purple Heart awarded by General Washington’s Continental Army (then called the Badge of Military Merit) to the widely followed Supreme Court’s ruling on the Stolen Valor Act case, there are fascinating stories behind these medals and the acts of courage they mark.

Borch is the regimental historian and archivist with the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General's Corps and author of Sea Service Medals: Military Awards and Decorations of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard and For Military Merit: Recipients of the Purple Heart.

Smithsonian Connections

Learn the personal story of one Vietnam-era recipient of the Medal of Honor.


S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Drive, SW
Metro: Smithsonian Mall Exit (Blue/Orange)