Minnesotans have faithfully served and sacrificed in all our nation’s wars. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Minnesota was the first state to offer soldiers to President Lincoln in defense of the Union. To the present day, Minnesotans have served our state and country with great distinction including awards of our Nation’s greatest honor, the Medal of Honor. As of February 2016, a total of 72 Minnesotans have been awarded the Medal of Honor. Minnesotans have been awarded Medals of Honor in all wars and conflicts from the Civil War through Vietnam. Of the 72 Minnesotans awarded the Medal of Honor, 3 were awarded for actions not during time of war including Charles Lindbergh, who made the first plane flight across the Atlantic to France in 1927.
On the Minnesota State Capitol grounds, veterans are honored with memorials according to the wars in which they served. However, the Minnesota Medal of Honor Memorial is the first memorial to recognize the valor of the individual veteran exemplified by the Minnesota Medal of Honor recipients.
2013 marked the 150th anniversary of the presentation of the first Medal of Honor by President Lincoln. It was in 1864 that the first Minnesotan was awarded the Medal of Honor.