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A Documented Medal of Merit


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With that introduction...what you came here for...

 

Here is his certificate for the Medal of Merit. Before I bought this, I had never seen one before. With only 145 total awards, these rank as one of the rarest medals of the United States. 

durand_medal_of_merit_certificate.jpg

Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia

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The citation, signed by Harry Truman, for the award... 

durand_medal_of_merit_citation.jpg

Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia

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The award was presented by General Spaatz. In Durand's biography, this is the only decoration he mentions - he was by far most proud of this award. 

durand_medal_of_merit_award_ceremony.jpg

Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia

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And General Spaatz' remarks at the presentation...

durand_spaatz_remarks.jpg

Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia

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And finally, his Medal of Merit. 

 

Thank you for reading through this thread and remembering the contributions of this great man!

durand medal_0002_sm.jpg

Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia

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A most interesting thread. I once asked Jeff Floyd if he knew of any documented Medals for Merit that included the award citation, and he was aware of only one. I have seen photographs of only a few other citation documents, which I believe are in library or museum collections.

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5 minutes ago, Will said:

A most interesting thread. I once asked Jeff Floyd if he knew of any documented Medals of Merit that included the award citation, and he was aware of only one. I have seen photographs of only a few other citation documents, which I believe are in library or museum collections.

 

Coincidentally, this one came from Jeff. :) When I saw him offering it, I jumped on it as I knew I'd never see another "in the wild". At the time, I had no idea of the historical importance of the recipient...as well as the other documents that came with the group that really make it one of a kind. 

Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia

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Here is the medal being offered for $4,500 with the signed Truman citation on White House stationary, but without the formal award document (If someone knows how to copy the photos from the offering and save them to this thread, that would certainly be helpful).

 

http://www.shafrancollectibles.com/shop/presidents/harry-s-truman-document-signed-as-president-awarding-the-medal-for-merit-with-the-actual-medal/#

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This is nothing short of amazing. In my 30+ years of collecting, I'd never seen an award certificate for the Medal of Merit. That, plus all of the documentation makes this one of the most fascinating and unique groupings I've ever seen. Can't wait to read through all of it after work today. Thanks for sharing, Dave!

Jeff C.

USMF Member #2275

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28 minutes ago, Will said:

Here is the medal being offered for $4,500 with the signed Truman citation on White House stationary, but without the formal award document (If someone knows how to copy the photos from the offering and save them to this thread, that would certainly be helpful).

 

http://www.shafrancollectibles.com/shop/presidents/harry-s-truman-document-signed-as-president-awarding-the-medal-for-merit-with-the-actual-medal/#

 

It's interesting that they say 401 awards were made. I got the 145 number from Ron Fischer's article in The Medal Collector: 

 

http://themedalcollector.com/uploads/THE_PRESIDENTIAL_MEDAL_OF_FREEDOM.pdf

 

Here are screenshots of the Shafran Collectible's listing: 

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Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia

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Here are a couple of shots from Nobel Prize (2x times) recipient Linus Pauling's awards: 

Screenshot_6.jpg

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Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia

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What's interesting is that Linus Pauling's certificate doesn't refer to him as a "DR" though he earned a PhD in 1925 (and had 47 honorary doctorates...) 

 

I think whoever created the certificates did an incredible job of matching the pre-printed font on the certificate with the hand-written name and dates. 

 

Also interesting to note that the wording on the certificate indicates that this medal was a direct descendant of Washington's Medal of Merit...similar wording as for the Purple Heart. 

Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia

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I don't know how the forum software will treat this image with it's automatic compression, but it's a closeup of the handwriting on the certificate. Really beautiful. 

Screenshot_7.jpg

Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia

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Just when you think you've done research on the award...I discovered the OMSA Monograph on the medal. :D I just ordered one. That will solve the number of them awarded. 

Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia

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Here's another certificate and citation, it sold in 2014.

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Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia

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6 minutes ago, Dave said:

Just when you think you've done research on the award...I discovered the OMSA Monograph on the medal. :D I just ordered one. That will solve the number of them awarded. 

Hopefully the monograph will have the information and that it will be capable of being verified if anyone in inclined to do that. Ron's article states the "Medal for Merit which was awarded some 145 times to prominent Americans, but was never used after World War II." But of course most of the awards were made after World War II. According to the 1985 edition of the Code of Federal Regulations (Volume 32, Section 578.15(b)), no awards were made after 1952. Presumably, though, the medal is still "on the books". I'm not aware that it has ever been declared obsolete or rescinded, although maybe that has happened. Regardless, though, any sets of the medal, the award document, and the typed citation are next to non existent outside of institutions.

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Wow, wow, wow!  Truly museum worthy collection!  Thanks for sharing Dave, it's one of my all time favorite medals!

WANT TO BUY:



Titled case set "U.S. Typhus Commission";


Titled case "Medal for Merit";



ASMIC: 1677


OMSA: 6045



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Dave, thanks for the insight in this rare medal and it's documents. If the awarded number is 145 or 405 or somewhere in between, it's still rare and real eye-candy for us to see.

 

Regards 

Herman 

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