July 12, 1862: President Abraham Lincoln signed a law creating the Medal of Honor. It is the highest military decoration awarded by the U.S. government. The Medal of Honor is awarded "to such noncommissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldier-like qualities during the present insurrection." In 1863, the Medal of Honor was made a permanent military decoration available to all members, including commissioned officers, of the U.S. military. It is conferred upon those who have distinguished themselves in actual combat at risk of life beyond the call of duty. Since its creation, during the Civil War, almost 3,400 men and one woman have received the Medal of Honor for heroic actions in U.S. military conflicts.
July 12, 1957: Dwight Eisenhower became the first president to fly in a helicopter. Ike began using helicopters for convenience, but also because the Secret Service wanted a way to evacuate him from the White House quickly if needed. Eisenhower's first helicopter could only sit two comfortably. So the president sat with the pilot. It was also slow: top speed 100 mph. Eisenhower flew often from the White House to Camp David (named for his grandson) and to his farm in Gettysburg, Pa. In Eisenhower's day, the president's helicopter was Army One or Marine One. The Marines took over all missions in 1976.
Quote of the Day
“If you want total security, go to prison. You’re fed, clothed, given medical care...the only thing lacking...is freedom.” -Dwight Eisenhower
More from West Wing Reports...
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why I'm a pro-life liberal
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- Why we can't stop procrastinating, according to science
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?
- How Ukraine can fend off the Russians, in 7 simple steps
- These stunning travel photos remind us that we're all just amateurs with iPhones
- 7 ways to quickly become a master at anything
Subscribe to the Week