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The Congressional Gold Medal

By None
None

Today, Spokane’s Steve Gleason joins an elite group of military heroes, explorers, civil rights figures and scientific figures who have received the Congressional Gold Medal.

What’s the difference between the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom?

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded by the president. The Congressional Gold Medal is awarded by Congress and requires legislation.

How does one get nominated?

Two-thirds of both the House (meaning 290 members) and the Senate (meaning 67 members) have to agree to co-sponsor a bill nominating someone for a gold medal before the appropriate committees — the House Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Policy and Technology and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs — consider it.

Why are some people shown on this list twice?

You can be awarded the medal more than once. Three have won it twice and one — Zachary Taylor, who later became president — won it three times. Once, a lost medal was re-awarded.

What does the Congressional Gold Medal look like?

Each one is designed by the U.S. Mint to bear the likeness of the person receiving the award. So each one is different. Unlike the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal isn’t really designed to be worn.

Are the medals really gold?

Evidently. The office of the historian of the U.S. House notes that because 650 members of the U.S. Summer Olympic team were to receive medals in 1980, Congress had bronze medals made instead that were then plated in gold.

CONTINETAL CONGRESS

March 25, 1776

Gen. George Washington

Nov. 4, 1777

Gen. Horatio Gates

July 26, 1779

Gen. Anthony Wayne

Sept. 24, 1779

Major Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee

March 9, 1781

Gen. Daniel Morgan

Oct. 29, 1781

Gen. Nathanael Greene

Oct. 16, 1787

Capt. John Paul Jones

U.S. CONGRESS

March 29, 1800

Capt. Thomas Truxtun

March 3, 1805

Commander Edward Preble

Jan. 29, 1813

Capt. Isaac Hull, Capt. Stephen Decatur and Capt. Jacob Jones

March 3, 1813

Capt. William Bainbridge

Jan. 6, 1814

Capt. Oliver Hazard Perry and Capt. Jesse D. Elliott

Jan. 6, 1814

Lt. William Burrows and Lt. Edward R. McCall

Jan. 11, 1814

Capt. James Lawrence

Oct. 20, 1814

Capt. Thomas MacDonough, Capt. Robert Henly and Lt. Stephen Cassin

Oct. 21, 1814

Capt. Lewis Warrington

Nov. 3, 1814

Capt. Johnson Blakely

Nov. 3, 1814

Gen. Jacob Brown

Nov. 3, 1814

Gen. Winfield Scott

Nov. 3, 1814

Gen. Eleazar W. Ripley, Gen. James Miller and Gen. Peter B. Porter

Nov. 3, 1814

Gen. Edmund P. Gaines

Nov. 3, 1814

Gen. Alexander Macomb

Feb. 27, 1815

Gen. Andrew Jackson

Feb. 22, 1816

Capt. Charles Stewart

Feb. 22, 1816

Capt. James Biddle

April 4, 1818

Gen. William Henry Harrison and Kentucky Gov. Isaac Shelby

Feb. 13, 1835

Col. George Croghan

July 16, 1846

Gen. Zachary Taylor

March 2, 1847

Gen. Zachary Taylor

March 3, 1847

Rescuers of the crew of the U.S. Brig Somers

March 9, 1848

Gen. Winfield Scott

May 9, 1848

Gen. Zachary Taylor

Aug. 4, 1854

Cdr. Duncan N. Ingraham

May 11, 1858

Dr. Frederick A. Rose — yellow fever treatment. First non-military gold medal recipient.

Dec. 17, 1863

Gen. Ulysses S. Grant

Jan. 28, 1864

Cornelius Vanderbilt — philanthropist

July 26, 1866

Capt. Robert Creighton, Capt. Edwin J. Low and Capt. George C. Stouffer — rescuers

March 2, 1867

Cyrus W. Field — transatlantic telegraph cable

March 16, 1867

George Peabody — philanthropist

March 1, 1871

Major George F. Robinson — bodyguard duty for secretary of state

Feb. 24, 1873

Capt. Jared S. Crandall and others — rescuers

June 20, 1874

John Horn, Jr. — rescuer

Feb. 5, 1883

John F. Slater — philanthropist

Aug. 27, 1888

TEXT

DATE

Joseph Francis — inventor

Sept. 30, 1890

George Wallace Melville and others — Arctic explorers

May 3, 1900

Lt. Frank H. Newcomb

June 28, 1902

Lt. David H. Jarvis, Lt. Ellsworth P. Bertholf and Dr. Samuel J. Call - lifesaving expedition

April 28, 1904

John Horn, Jr. — lost medal

March 4, 1909

Wright Brothers — inventors of the airplane

July 6, 1912

Capt. Arthur Henry Rostron — Titanic rescue

March 19, 1914

Capt. Paul H. Kreibohm and others — rescue

March 4, 1915

Domicio da Gama, Romulo S. Naon and Eduardo Suarez — diplomats

May 4, 1928

Charles A. Lindbergh — solo transAtlantic flight

May 29, 1928

Lincoln Ellsworth, Roald Amundsen, and Umberto Nobile — polar explorers

May 29, 1928

Thomas A. Edison — inventor

Feb. 9, 1929

Members of the NC-4 mission — first successful transatlantic flight in 1919

Feb. 28, 1929

Maj. Walter Reed and associates — yellow Fever work in Cuba

May 23, 1930

Officers and men of the Byrd Antarctic Expedition

June 16, 1936

Lincoln Ellsworth — Antarctic explorer

June 29, 1936

George M. Cohan — musician

June 20, 1938

Margaret Aldrich and Anna Bouligny — medical work in Puerto Rico

Aug. 7, 1939

Howard Hughes — aviation technology

Aug. 10, 1939

Reverend Francis X. Quinn — hostage crisis

June 15, 1940

William Sinnott — bodyguard duty for Franklin Roosevelt

Jan. 20, 1942

Roland Boucher — lifesaver

March 22, 1946

General of the Army George C. Marshall and Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King

Aug. 7, 1946

John J. Pershing, General of the Armies of the United States

Aug. 8, 1946

Gen. William Mitchell — promotion of military aviation

Aug. 12, 1949

Vice President Alben W. Barkley

July 16, 1954

Irving Berlin — musician

Aug. 9, 1955

E. Salk — work with polio

July 18, 1956

Surviving veterans of the American Civil War

Aug. 28, 1958

Adm. Hyman Rickover — work with nuclear fleet

Sept. 16, 1959

Dr. Robert H. Goddard — work with rockets

Sept. 13, 1960

Robert Frost — poet

May 27, 1961

Thomas Anthony Dooley III — medical work in Laos

June 8, 1962

Bob Hope — entertainer

Sept. 26, 1962

Rep. Sam Rayburn — Speaker of the House of Representatives

Oct. 9, 1962

Douglas MacArthur, General of the Army

May 24, 1968

Walt Disney — entertainer

May 7, 1969

Winston Churchill — British prime minister

May 14, 1973

Roberto Clemente — baseball player/humanitarian work

March 8, 1977

Marian Anderson — singer

Oct. 10, 1978

Gen. Ira C. Eaker — U.S. Air Force

Nov. 1, 1978

Sen. Robert F. Kennedy

May 26, 1979

John Wayne — entertainer

June 13, 1979

Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson and Larry Newman — crossing the Atlantic in a balloon

June 13, 1979

Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey

Dec. 12, 1979

American Red Cross

March 6, 1980

Ambassador Kenneth Taylor — helping rescue U.S. diplomatic staff from Iran

March 17, 1980

Simon Wiesenthal — war criminal investigator

July 8, 1980

U.S. Summer Olympic Team — boycott of Moscow games

March 22, 1982

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands

June 23, 1982

Adm. Hyman Rickover

Aug. 26, 1982

Fred Waring — inventor

Aug. 26, 1982

Joe Louis — boxer

Aug. 26, 1982

Louis L'Amour — author

Nov. 18, 1983

Rep. Leo J. Ryan — murdered in Guyana

Nov. 29, 1983

Danny Thomas — entertainer/humanitarian work

May 8, 1984

President Harry S. Truman

May 8, 1984

Lady Bird Johnson — conservation and beautification work

May 8, 1984

Elie Wiesel — historian

May 17, 1984

Roy Wilkins — civil rights

Aug. 9, 1985

George and Ira Gershwin — songwriters

May 13, 1986

Anatoly and Avital Shcharansky — human rights

May 20, 1986

Harry Chapin — musician/humanitarian work

Sept. 23, 1986

Aaron Copland — composer

Dec. 24, 1987

Mary Lasker — medical research

Sept. 20, 1988

Jesse Owens — athlete, humanitarian work

Nov. 9, 1988

Andrew Wyeth — artist

May 17, 1990

Laurence Spelman Rockefeller — environmental work, historical preservation

Nov. 5, 1990

Gen. Matthew Ridgeway

April 23, 1991

Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf — Gulf War

April 23, 1991

Gen. Colin Powell — Gulf War

Nov. 2, 1994

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson ­— humanitarian work

Feb. 13, 1996

Ruth and Billy Graham

May 14, 1997

Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra — musician, humanitarian work

June 2, 1997

Mother Teresa of Calcutta — humanitarian work

Oct. 6, 1997

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew — religious work

July 29, 1998

Nelson Mandela of South Africa

Oct. 21, 1998

Little Rock Nine — Civil rights

Oct. 21, 1998

President Gerald R. and first lady Betty Ford

May 4, 1999

Rosa Parks— Civil rights

Dec. 9, 1999

Theodore M. Hesburgh — Civil rights

March 3, 2000

John Cardinal O'Connor— humanitarian work

June 20, 2000

Charles M. Schulz — cartoonist

July 27, 2000

Pope John Paul II

July 27, 2000

President Ronald and First Lady Nancy Reagan

Dec. 21, 2000

Navajo code talkers of World War II

Jan. 16, 2002

Gen, Hugh Shelton

July 17, 2003

British Prime Minister Tony Blair

Oct. 23, 2003

Jackie Robinson — baseball/civil rights

Dec. 6, 2003

Dr. Dorothy Height — civil rights

Dec. 15, 2003

Rev. Joseph A. DeLaine, Harry and Eliza Briggs and Levi Pearson — civil rights

Oct. 25, 2004

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King

April 11, 2006

The Tuskegee Airmen of World War II — civil rights

Sept. 27, 2006

The Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso,

Oct. 16, 2006

Byron Nelson — pro golfer/humanitarian work

Dec. 14, 2006

Dr. Norman E. Borlaug — environmental work

Oct. 10, 2007

Dr. Michael E. DeBakey — inventor of the M.A.S.H. unit

May 6, 2008

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar

July 1, 2008

Constantino Brumidi — painter of U.S. Capitol frescoes

July 1, 2008

Sen. Edward William Brooke III

Oct. 15, 2008

Native American Code Talkers of World War II

July 1, 2009

Women Airforce Service Pilots ("WASP") of World War II

Aug. 7, 2009

Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr., Michael Collins, and John Glenn, Jr.

Sept. 30, 2009

Arnold Palmer — professional golfer

Oct. 5, 2010

Dr. Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh

Oct. 5, 2010

100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Service — World War II

Nov. 11, 2011

Montford Point Marines — civil rights

Dec. 23, 2011

"The Men and Women who perished as the result of the Terrorist Acts on the United States" on 9/11

July 26, 2012

Raoul Wallenberg — humanitarian work during the Holocaust

May 24, 2013

Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley — victims of the 16th Steet Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham in 1963

July 12, 2013

The First Special Service Force — World War II

May 23, 2014

American fighter aces of World War II

May 23, 2014

The "Doolittle Tokyo Raiders" of World War II

May 30, 2014

World War II members of the Civil Air Patrol

June 9, 2014

Israeli President Shimon Peres

June 9, 2014

"The Monuments Men" of World War II

June 10, 2014

65th Infantry Regiment — "the Borinqueneers" of the Korean War

Dec. 16, 2014

Jack Nicklaus — professional golfer

March 7, 2015

Participants in the Selma-to-Montgomery, Ala. civil rights march of March 1965

Dec. 14, 2016

Filipino Veterans of World War II

Dec. 14, 2016

Office of Strategic Services — World War II

Sept. 15, 2017

Sen. Bob Dole

Dec. 13, 2018

Former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat

Dec. 17, 2018

Larry Doby — baseball player/civil rights

Dec. 20, 2018

Chinese-American Veterans of World War II

Dec. 20, 2018

The crew of the USS Indianapolis of World War II

Nov. 8, 2019

Katherine Johnson — NASA mathematician

Nov. 8, 2019

Dr. Christine Darden — NASA engineer

Nov. 8, 2019

Dorothy Vaughan — NASA mathematician

Nov. 8, 2019

Mary Jackson — NASA mathematician

Nov. 8, 2019

"All the women who contributed to the success of NASA during the Space Race."

Jan. 15, 2020

Steve Gleason of Spokane — NFL player/humanitarian work with ALS

Sources: Office of the Historian of the U.S. House of Representatives