The Medal of Honor and Respect

By | March 25, 2021

[March 25, 2021]  Jim Livingston is a U.S. Marine combat veteran.  During the Vietnam War, he was awarded the U.S. Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life.  Why do we honor those who go beyond the call of duty when in combat against enemies of the United States?  Why do we hold Jim Livingston and others like him in such high esteem give our respect?

Those who are willing to stand and pledge their lives to their nation demonstrate a moral act, one that stands above expected behavior.  To protect one’s nation from enemies has been an act is of such high value because it represents the survival of our nation, community, and family.  There is no higher calling than to stand up for those who are incapable of defending themselves.  We rightly look upon those who earned the medal with a sense of awe.

The Medal of Honor (MOH) is the United States military’s highest and most prestigious military decoration.  We hold this medal in such reverence that laws are written to prevent the unscrupulous from benefiting by falsely wearing the medal.

Yes, you can purchase the MOH on the Internet and in some military surplus stores.  Anyone can pin it on their shirt, but those who do so, and have not earned it in combat, are stealing the valor from true veterans.

Our legal system allows this, and rightly so.  Sometimes freedom can be a double-edged sword.  If someone wants to impersonate a highly decorated veteran, then that is what freedom is about.  Our laws allow unprincipled and deceitful people the right to speak and do as they wish.  Let us not overlook that those who rightfully earned the Medal of Honor with their blood have also earned the right for others to misrepresent themselves.

The Medal of Honor is the oldest continuously issued combat decoration of the U.S. Armed Forces.  The President typically presents the medal in person.  And, because of the reverent symbolic value of the MOH and its long history, there is considerable storytelling behind it.  Wikipedia and others have a good summary.

I spoke with USMC James “Jim” Livingston a few days ago.  He is now living in South Carolina and continues to be an active member of his community and the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.  He made my day that day.

Today is Medal of Honor Day.  I highly recommend all readers go to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society webpage under Blog Posts to ‘hear’ from those who earned the medal.  You will find them all to be very humble and their stories to be fascinating.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

24 thoughts on “The Medal of Honor and Respect

  1. Luden S.

    Gen. Satterfield, perhaps you could write more about USMC Livingston. It would be good to read some of his thoughts and worlds.

  2. Bryan Z. Lee

    I know that after reading about these men who earned the Medal of Honor that I am personally in awe of what they did. I like the earlier article on Woody Williamson and what he did in the Battle of Iwo Jima. This is why I keep coming back to Gen. Satterfield’s leadership blog.

  3. Jeff Blackwater

    For those not in the know, the award of the Medal of Honor involves a long process. Many would deserve it but only a few receive it. That is for many reasons that I will not go into. Suffice it to say that the military awards them mainly to have heroes to send out and encourage others. Like Sergeant York in Gen. Satterfield’s webpage the other day. Also, Gen. S. has a hero mini-series. Read them. Just my thoughts.

      1. rjsmithers

        Yes, we all realize that there might be some disjointed nature of the issuance of the medal but that doesn’t in any way degrade its worth. We know heroes when we see them and the false heroes that are out there in abundance.

  4. Nick Lighthouse

    You are honored by knowing Jim Livingston, General. I appreciate you highlighting him for us.

    1. Linux Man

      You got that right. Thanks to Gen. Satterfield and all those who post here in the leader forums.

      1. Steve Dade

        You got that right!!! 👍
        ….. and for highlighting others as well.
        Great blog website for leadership.

  5. Kenny Foster

    Why, in the world, is this necessary. “The Medal of Honor (MOH) is the United States military’s highest and most prestigious military decoration. We hold this medal in such reverence that laws are written to prevent the unscrupulous from benefiting by falsely wearing the medal.” It would seem obvious you don’t impersonate a hero. This falls under an earlier article titled “False Heroes.”

  6. Willie Shrumburger

    Excellent article, Gen. Satterfield. I know no one who earned the MOH and never met them either. I did read up on the MOH website. Very well done. Thanks.

    1. Forrest Gump

      You know what Forrest Gump says, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

      1. Rev. Michael Cain

        I’m not so sure who is the most stupid or ignorant, Cuomo or New Yorkers. And, I might add the same goes for New Jerseyians.

      2. Dead Pool Guy

        Right, Gov Cuomo is EVIL and a KILLER. Anyone who disagrees, let me know. You cannot ignore the facts. And, Cuomo is unwilling to even admit he was wrong.

  7. Silly Man

    Indeed, Gen. Satterfield, the idea of heroes and the MOH intersect. We look up to those who are the real heroes of our communities and our nation. Some are fortunate enough to be publically recognized with the MOH. Others not. But they all matter and deserve our respect. Thanks for reminding us of the Medal of Honor.

    1. Max Foster

      Good comment, Silly Man (interesting moniker). The Congressional Medal of Honor is a military award for military bravery beyond the call of duty. But there are others who are equally as deserving, yet we don’t really hand them a medal. But we do recognize them in other ways. Read any local newspaper and you will occasionally read about some person who helped save a life or did something of great courage.

    2. Otto Z. Zuckermann

      Good comment, Silly Man. Yes, and occasionally we do need reminding. But to recognize someone just because they are there (give them a trophy for last place in a foot race) is not a good idea in the long run. I respect those heroes and nothing will change my mind.

      1. JT Patterson

        Good point Otto. Hey, folks if you don’t know a MOH winner, then go to the website linked to my Gen. S. and read up on them.

      2. Scotty Bush

        I dont’ need reminding because I pay attention. But I do agree many Americans need to be reminded all the time because most are asleep at the wheel.

    1. Anya B.

      Thanks Lynn. You said it and the fewer words, the better. I knew a MOH winner – next door neighbor when I was growing up. Kids locally would play in his yard. Everyone knew the guy. Everyone respected what he did to earn the medal. We were all in “awe” all the time.


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