The creation of a military medal of honor or valor is an honor that is bestowed on a few key individuals. The process is difficult but very rewarding. The creators of the medals could devote up to one hundred hours on one metal. The company that creates these medals may end up with thousands to produce at one order. The neck dress or drape takes many hours as well. The neck dress or ribbon is hand stitched. Touring one of the medal plants will leave a civilian or soldier breathless and amazed at the detail that goes into one piece.
Medal Creation Stages and Materials
Different medals have different parts to them. The Legion of Merit has multiple colors and has several stages to its completion. The Purple Heart has several stages as well. The final and fourth stage involves a needle and applying a drop of epoxy on the leave and the flag. Each medal begins with a single piece of alloy, brass to be exact. Each piece of a medal is a creation of the machine. The medals are first mixed together to form the correct composition. Some are more copper than anything else. Zinc is also in the medals to create a bronze plate for the medal.
Preparing the Medal
The blanks, that are fed by hand, are cut and pressed to form each individual part of the medal itself. The piece is then run through to a furnace of about 1500 degrees. This makes the metal pieces soft and easier to work with. The next step is the trimmer. The trimmer cuts the metal pieces exact so that the excess is relieved of the metal parts. This is the step that creates the hole for the ribbon. A drill and a man create the place where the prestigious ribbon will lie. After all, is said and done, the medals will be dipped in nitrate acid. Mixing and vibration of a tub full of epoxy create the antique appearance of the medals. Polishing is the next step. The color is added by individuals that pain the tiny details of the medals. This part of the creation will give the medal its final personality and design. The creation of the medal is complete.
Adding the Ribbon
A single individual creates the prestigious blue ribbons that decorate the Medal of Honor. Jacquelyn King from Texas is the creator of the blue ribbon that houses 13 stars. It takes about four days to prepare the ribbon for the sewing. She glues on a piece of cardboard to the back of where the stars will be added. Using a stitch called the herringbone, she adds a single shape of the “V”. This V will help her know where to place each individual stitch so that it is equal in distance for the stars. She works very hard to complete five maybe six ribbons in one day.
Packaging the Medals for Preservation
The ribbons and medals meet and are then placed in their perspective boxes for delivery to the ceremonies that celebrate the individual men and women that deserve. Every individual knows someone that is deserving of these medals. The Government, the Commander in Chief, and the Defense Department are all parts of the celebration and the ability to make these awards possible for deserving young men and women. Over 21 million is spent in the past 16 years. Our desire is for individuals deserving these medals of honor to continue to receive them.