Earlier this year, leaders of the House and Senate gathered – along with more than 700 Americans — in Emancipation Hall in the U.S. Capitol to honor the Fallen Heroes of 9/11 with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor that Congress can bestow. In this short, behind-the-scenes video, you can learn more about the rich history of the Congressional Gold Medal and watch the production of the 9/11 medals in never-before-seen footage at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia.
Also, here are a few facts you may not have previously known about the Congressional Gold Medal:
- The first gold medal was awarded to George Washington for his military courage during the Revolutionary War.
- Congressional Gold Medals require broad bipartisan support. At least two-thirds (290) Members of the House must cosponsor (not just vote in favor of) the legislation for it to be successful; in the Senate, at least 67 Senators must cosponsor any Congressional Gold Medal legislation before it can even be considered.
- In more recent decades, recipients have included actors, musicians, athletes, as well as foreign-born individuals who have contributed greatly to global society.
- The next Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony actually takes place tomorrow, in honor of members of the Civil Air Patrol whose valor and dedication saved countless lives during World War II.