However not many individuals have declined the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“Only a few have performed it, whether or not it was out of modesty or for particular circumstances,” mentioned E. Fletcher McClellan, a professor of political science at Elizabethtown School in Pennsylvania who has written about the history of the medal.
Mr. Belichick’s refusal to simply accept the award “is by far probably the most public and vital rejection,” Professor McClellan mentioned.
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 Pink Sox and was fluent in not less than half a dozen languages, together with German and Japanese.
His reward for languages and quick wit made him an excellent spy throughout World Warfare 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, in line with “The Catcher Was a Spy” by Nicholas Dawidoff.
When Berg discovered he had been awarded the Medal of Freedom, he declined to simply accept it.
In a observe to a colonel, he mentioned the story of his “humble contribution” couldn’t be divulged.
“The medal embarrasses me,” he added, in line with Mr. Dawidoff’s guide.
She added: “He didn’t spy and danger 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 right now.
When Truman established the Medal of Freedom throughout his administration, it was meant to honor individuals who had demonstrated notable service throughout battle.
In February 1963, Kennedy reintroduced it as the Presidential Medal of Freedom, an honor that may be bestowed on the discretion of the president for varied sorts of service and achievements.
He and Jacqueline Kennedy, the primary girl, designed the brand new medal collectively, mentioned Kyle Kopko, an adjunct professor at Elizabethtown School 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 simply accept it, nonetheless, almost certainly as a result of she needed to make her husband “the point of interest of the glory,” Professor Kopko mentioned.
Since 1963, greater than 600 medals have been awarded, Professor McClellan mentioned.
He mentioned he was hard-pressed to think about others who had rejected the award.
“If there was a cellphone name to a determine who was instructed, ‘You’re getting the medal,’ and that determine mentioned, ‘No thanks,’ we don’t have any file of that,” Professor McClellan mentioned.
President Truman famously mentioned he would somewhat get the Medal of Honor, a army honor, than be president.
However in 1971, he blocked an try by the Home of Representatives to present him the medal.
In a letter to Congress, he wrote, “I don’t take into account that I’ve performed something which ought to 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 Warfare I, however his observe to Congress recommended 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 recognize what you and others have performed, as a result of I do recognize the type issues which were mentioned and the proposal to have the award supplied to me,” Truman wrote. “Due to this fact, I shut by saying thanks, however I can’t settle for a Congressional Medal of Honor.”