On Thursday, October 22, 2015, the United States Congress will
present the Monuments Men and women, of all fourteen nations, with the
Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the
United States. George Washington received the first medal. (A partial
list of recipients is provided at the end of this document.) Normally
only two Congressional Gold Medals are awarded each year, due in part to
the rigorous review and approval process that requires two-thirds
consent of both houses of Congress. Nine years of work to encourage our
nation to formally honor these heroes has now resulted in this august
recognition. Following President Obama’s signature marking formal
passage of this bill in June 2014, the Foundation has spent much of the
past twelve months meeting with officials from the U.S. Mint and their
team of artists on the design of the gold medal. The outcome is
The Speaker of the House, Congressman John Boehner, will serve as the Master of Ceremony for the event. Other speakers will include the Majority and Minority leaders of each party in both Houses of Congress, the Senate and House sponsors of the bill, Monuments Man Harry Ettlinger, and Robert M. Edsel, Founder and Chairman of the Foundation. All members of Congress are invited to attend this event.
A partial list of past recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal:
Former United States Presidents Harry S. Truman, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan; pioneers/explorers the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, and Neil Armstrong; military figures and groups Generals Ulysses S. Grant, George C. Marshall, and Douglas MacArthur; and the Tuskegee Airmen, and the Doolittle Raiders; celebrities Bob Hope, John Wayne; foreign dignitaries including Sir Winston Churchill; artists/musicians George Gershwin, Robert Frost, and Andrew Wyeth; athletes Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, and Jack Nicklaus; religious figures Pope John Paul II, Rev. Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, and the Dalai Lama; and human rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, Elie Wiesel, and Nelson Mandela.