The American Legion Honors First Liberty with Distinguished Service Medal

September 1, 2023
First Liberty Insider | American Legion Honors First Liberty

by Jorge Gomez • 2 min read

We’re honored to announce that First Liberty received The American Legion’s Distinguished Service Medal. This is the highest award bestowed by The Legion, which is the largest wartime veterans service organization in the nation with over two million members.

National Commander Vincent J. Troiola presented the award at this year’s National Convention, with thousands of American veterans in attendance. Our Executive Vice President and Chief Financial / Operating Officer Dave Holmes—a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel, fighter pilot and special duty officer—accepted the award.

“It’s with enormous gratitude that we accept this award,” Holmes said. “I know full well the value of The American Legion. You help protect some of the most precious attributes of our country, and it’s most appreciated. We at First Liberty for 20 years have been standing alongside the Legion to protect these rights.”

“The brilliant legal minds that we are honoring today defend the ability of Americans to live according to one’s beliefs no matter one’s faith, ideology or background,” Troiola said. “As they defend the use of the cross and other symbols on veterans memorials, they remind us that the framers of the Constitution believed in protecting religious beliefs, not cancelling or removing them.”

For more than a decade, First Liberty and The American Legion have collaborated to defend many of the traditions our nation holds most dear. Our partnership has led to many victories for religious freedom, including:

  • Bladensburg Peace Cross
  • Mojave Desert Memorial Cross
  • Soledad Veterans Memorial
  • Pledge of Allegiance in New Jersey
  • “In God We Trust” National Motto

First introduced in 1921, the Distinguished Service Medal is presented as a tribute to individuals and groups who make great contributions for America’s veterans and who display “outstanding service to the nation and to the programs of The American Legion.” Over its 100-year history, the award has been presented to U.S. presidents, senators, high-ranking military and government officials, doctors, celebrities, social service organizations, military regiments and individual war heroes. A few among its many honorees include:

  • President George W. Bush
  • President Ronald Reagan
  • President Richard Nixon
  • President Lyndon Johnson
  • President John F. Kennedy
  • Sen. John McCain
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch
  • Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady
  • Gen. Colin Powell
  • Gen. David Petraeus
  • U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
  • Boy Scouts of America
  • Astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen

The Distinguished Service Medal consists of a gold plated/sterling silver medallion with The American Legion emblem in the center. The word “Distinguished” is inscribed above and the word “Service” inscribed below the Legion’s emblem in plain block letters on a rose colored background. The medal is encased in a shadow box that features the recipient’s name engraved underneath. Additionally, the honoree is given a replica of The Guardians of Freedom Plaque that is maintained at The American Legion’s National Headquarters.

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