Military decorations began early in the American Revolution when Congress voted to award gold medals to outstanding military leaders. The first of these special medals was given to George Washington for his service expelling the British from Boston in 1776.

In 1782, George Washington established the Badge of Military Merit, the first U.S. decoration that recognized the extraordinary accomplishments of the enlisted man. In 1932, Washington’s, Badge of Military Merit was revived and named, The Purple Heart. It includes the likeness of Washington on the face and, “for Military Merit”, appears on the back.

In 1861, the Medal of Honor was established for the enlisted personnel of the U.S. Navy, followed the next year by the creation of its Army counterpart for NCO’s and private soldiers. Officers were made eligible for the award in later years.

The Motts Military Museum contains within its walls, the military decorations of soldiers, sailors, and airmen. Behind each of these medals is the true story of heroism.


In reference to this medal, the following is a portion of a letter sent from Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker to his niece, Miss Marian Darby of Columbus, Ohio.

“…In checking I found that I have an extra French Legion of Honor Medal, which I am sending under separrate cover, that was awarded to me by the French Government for a successful action on the Western Front during Word War I when I attacked seven enemy airplanes and was successful in bring down two…”


This Purple Heart was given posthumosly to Ted W. Cossin who gave his life for his country in the Korean War.


This is a Saudi Arabian medal given for the liberation of Kuwait during the Gulf War.