The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor that Congress can bestow. Its storied tradition dates all the way back to the first recipient, General George Washington, and this week, leaders of the House and Senate presented the medal to a different kind of soldier—those who marched peacefully in the 1965 civil rights protests. As Speaker Ryan remarked, "We recognize them for who they are and what they are: Foot Soldiers for freedom. . . . They taught us that only a good country can be truly a free country."