Arnold Palmer will receive the Congressional Gold Medal today from President Obama in a White House Ceremony.
The Congressional Gold Medal—not to be confused with the Presidential Medal of Freedom or the Congressional Medal of Honor —is bestowed by an act of both houses of Congress. It’s given as an act of appreciation for distinguished achievement and contributions. Each medal honors an individual, group, institution or event. The first thirty one went to war heroes. Frederick Rose, a British surgeon was the first non-US-military recipient. He was honored in 1858 for aiding American naval personnel aboard the USS Susquehannah who had contracted yellow fever. By my count, 139 medals have been struck.
The first recipient was General George Washington in 1776. Other recipients have included recipients as varied as Irving Berlin, Tony Blair, Winston Churchill, Roberto Clemente, Stephen Decatur, Walt Disney, Robert Frost, Billy Graham, Bob Hope, John Paul Jones, Martin Luther King, Jr., Louis L’Amour, Douglas MacArthur, Jesse Owens, John J Pershing, Ronald Reagan, Charles Schultz, Mother Theresa, Anthony Wayne, and John Wayne. Byron Nelson is the only other professional golfer to be honored.
A full list of Congressional Gold Medal recipients is here.
As I’ve said before, Arnold Palmer is one of my heroes, and I’m really happy for him. It’s a dream of mine to meet him.