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.

The video features Speaker Boehner, along with Matthew Wasniewski, Historian of the U.S. House, and Richard Peterson, Deputy Director of the U.S. Mint.  

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.