Who Else Has Declined a Presidential Honor?


However not many individuals have declined the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“Only a few have executed it, whether or not it was out of modesty or for particular circumstances,” stated E. Fletcher McClellan, a professor of political science at Elizabethtown Faculty in Pennsylvania who has written about the history of the medal.

Mr. Belichick’s refusal to just accept the award “is by far probably the most public and important rejection,” Professor McClellan stated.

Listed here are the others who’ve turned down presidential honors.

In 1946, President Harry S. Truman awarded the medal, then identified merely because the Medal of Freedom, to Moe Berg, a former Main League Baseball catcher who performed for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Boston Crimson Sox and was fluent in no less than half a dozen languages, together with German and Japanese.

His reward for languages and quick wit made him a super spy throughout World Struggle II, when he was tasked with studying whether or not the Nazis had been making an atomic bomb.

The mission was so dangerous that Berg was given a cyanide pill that he may swallow in case he was caught, based on “The Catcher Was a Spy” by Nicholas Dawidoff.

When Berg discovered he had been awarded the Medal of Freedom, he declined to just accept it.

In a notice to a colonel, he stated the story of his “humble contribution” couldn’t be divulged.

“The medal embarrasses me,” he added, based on Mr. Dawidoff’s ebook.

“I believe it’s virtually befitting Moe that he didn’t take it,” stated Aviva Kempner, a filmmaker who made a documentary about Berg. “It matches into his character of being secretive.”

She added: “He didn’t spy and threat his life day-after-day for his nation for a medal. He did it so Nazism could possibly be defeated.”

Berg’s sister later accepted the medal on his behalf and donated it to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

President John F. Kennedy created the Presidential Medal of Freedom as it’s identified as we speak.

When Truman established the Medal of Freedom throughout his administration, it was meant to honor individuals who had demonstrated notable service throughout warfare.

In February 1963, Kennedy reintroduced it as the Presidential Medal of Freedom, an honor that might be bestowed on the discretion of the president for varied forms of service and achievements.

He and Jacqueline Kennedy, the primary woman, designed the brand new medal collectively, stated Kyle Kopko, an adjunct professor at Elizabethtown Faculty who has helped to keep up a database of recipients.

President Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, earlier than the brand new medal was unveiled.

When President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded the medal to him posthumously, he sought to incorporate Ms. Kennedy within the honor.

She declined to just accept it, nonetheless, most definitely as a result of she wished to make her husband “the focus of the glory,” Professor Kopko stated.

Since 1963, greater than 600 medals have been awarded, Professor McClellan stated.

He stated he was hard-pressed to think about others who had rejected the award.

“If there was a telephone name to a determine who was informed, ‘You’re getting the medal,’ and that determine stated, ‘No thanks,’ we don’t have any document of that,” Professor McClellan stated.

President Truman famously stated he would somewhat get the Medal of Honor, a navy honor, than be president.

However in 1971, he blocked an try by the Home of Representatives to offer him the medal.

In a letter to Congress, he wrote, “I don’t contemplate that I’ve executed something which must be the explanation of any award, Congressional or in any other case.”

The Medal of Honor, the country’s highest award for military valor in action, is historically offered by the sitting president.

Truman served as an artillery officer throughout World Struggle I, however his notice to Congress advised that he felt that accepting an award meant for “fight bravery” would detract from the glory, according to a May 1971 article in The New York Times.

“This doesn’t imply I don’t admire what you and others have executed, as a result of I do admire the type issues which were stated and the proposal to have the award provided to me,” Truman wrote. “Subsequently, I shut by saying thanks, however I can’t settle for a Congressional Medal of Honor.”



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