In honor of the 16th President who created the Medal of Honor in 1861, General Colin Powell announces the creation of the “Above & Beyond Citizen Honors” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, calling on the American public to nominate those who have gone “above and beyond” for their fellow citizens.
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society asks David Clark to create a public initiative that promotes the military ethic of “service before self.”
Understanding that the Congressional Medal of Honor Society is regarded as the most prestigious organization in the United States because its members are made up solely of those who wear our nations highest award for valor in combat – The Medal of Honor, Clark has an idea to create a highly visible award The Society can present to civilians on an annual basis.
In honor of Abraham Lincoln who created the Medal of Honor in 1861, and stated; “Any Nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure,” Clark creates the Above & Beyond Citizen Honors which the media quickly names “the most prestigious civilian awards in America.” That the jury that selects the Above & Beyond Citizen Honorees are solely comprised of Medal of Honor recipients, is what gives this award its unique authority and gravitas. The Above & Beyond Citizen Honors are supported by every branch of the United States Armed Forces.
Above & Beyond Citizen Honors recipient Don Schoendorfer displays his medal depicting three greek figures; “Peace, Victory & Valor”, the figures (two civilian, one military) displayed on the east side of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Clark had this image from the Tomb placed on the Above & Beyond medals to show the link between civilians and the military and to highlight the notion of anonymous heroism, a notion amplified by using the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery as the annual presentation site for the Above & Beyond Citizen Honors.
President Barack Obama participated in the Above & Beyond Citizen Honors event, and led the wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Previous event Chairs have included President’s Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter.