Definitions

medal for merit

Presidential Medal for Merit

The Presidential Medal for Merit is one of the highest civilian decoration of the United States, awarded by the President of the United States to civilians for exceptionally meritorious conduct. It was created by Executive Order 9637--Medal for Merit on October 3, 1945, later amended and restated by Executive Order 9857A of May 27, 1947. At the time, it was the highest award available to civilians. Created during World War II, and mostly awarded to civilians who contributed to that war, the medal has not been awarded since 1952.

Civilians who rendered exceptional service after the proclamation of an emergency by the President on September 8, 1939 were eligible to receive the medal.

Civilians of foreign nations could receive the award for the performance of an exceptionally meritorious or courageous act or acts in furtherance of the war efforts of the United Nations. The first non- U.S. citizen to receive the medal was spymaster William Stephenson, code named Intrepid during WWII. Some consider Stephenson one of the real life inspirations for James Bond. A confidential White House inquiry as to whether King George VI could be awarded the medal was denied because he had not met the eligibility criteria.

Proposals were considered by the Medal for Merit Board, numbering three members appointed by the President, of whom one was appointed by the President as Chairman of the Board. The medal cannot be awarded for any action relating to the prosecution of World War II subsequent to the cessation of hostilities (as proclaimed by Proclamation No. 2714 of December 31, 1946), and no proposal for an award for such services could be submitted after June 30, 1947.

Some recipients

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