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With regard to one sent in about the classes of Medals of Honor, while there have been several physical changes in the appearance of the medal, and its suspension ribbons over the years, all medals are equal in class. In other words all are of the same level, regardless of the reasons for, or methods involved in its presentation. Clearly some would be for events far more brave than others, but none the less most passed the tests of the day to meet that bar. And while on point I should note that the criteria itself has evolved over the years and changes have been for the better of course. Many had medals revoked years after being awarded, when criteria for current awarding changed. But I will have an entire blog on this subject at a future date. Watch for it because it will make some squirm around in their seats.
Now to today's topic....
The original flag, according to General Washington, had stars representing heaven. The 13 stripes here are thought to have represented the 13 original colonies. The red coming from the Mother country, the white strips between each red showing that The US has separated from the Mother country, and the white going down to properity in representing liberty.
The five pointed medal, always with one pointed down, contains a circle of 34 stars, one for each state before separation. Within this circle is the figure of Minerva, Roman goddess of handicrafts, the professions, the arts, and later the war. There is an owl perched on her helmet which symbolizes wisdom. In her left hand she holds tha fasces, a badge of authority, .. and in her right she holds the shield, symbolizing the Union of the States. This is wielding off the serpents held by the crouching figure of discord.
It's first Commander-in-chief... John A logan issued an order that compelled all members to properly decorate all veterans graves with wreaths and flowers on what he called Decoration Day. Today it is known as Memorial Day in the US.
When the last member died in 1956, it shut its doors, But since then its work has been taken on by a group still in existence and going strong today...The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.
The GAR Badge of Membership is pictured above. At a quick glance, it is often mistaken as the Medal of Honor. In fact so many got confused, it was decided, among other reasons to revamp the Medal of Honor itself and soon new models were created and issued. More on that in a future blog though.