American Spirit Awards


The National WWII Museum

American Spirit Awards

The true nature of the American spirit shined during World War II—through the selfless volunteerism of those serving in defense of our country, the acceptance of sacrifices on the Home Front, and most importantly, through a remarkable demonstration of unity. American citizens rallied to uphold their values, confront powerful enemies, and defend cherished freedoms. These actions and sentiments represent the best of what our country can be. The National WWII Museum honors the American Spirit as we preserve and pass on stories of the men and women of the war generation. And that spirit lives on today because we are influenced by their valor, determination, and leadership.


Annually, the Museum celebrates the American spirit by recognizing individuals whose work reflects the values and spirit of those who served our country during World War II and throughout its great history. We honor those who inspire others through their own acts of courage, sacrifice, initiative, and generosity—particularly in the areas of leadership, service to country or community, and education. The multiday extravaganza will conclude with the grand opening of The Arsenal of Democracy: The Herman and George Brown Salute to the Home Front.

Event Schedule

  • American Spirit Awards Patron Reception
  • American Spirit Awards Luncheon and Leadership Forum
  • The Arsenal of Democracy: The Herman and George Brown Salute to the Home Front Exhibit Preview
  • American Spirit Awards Gala
  • The Arsenal of Democracy: The Herman and George Brown Salute to the Home Front Exhibit Ribbon Cutting
  • Reception and Dedication Ceremony for The Arsenal of Democracy

The American Spirit Award

The American Spirit Award recognizes an individual who best exemplifies the outstanding qualities of the American spirit, including teamwork, optimism, courage, and sacrifice, and who inspires the exploration and expression of these values through their own life and work. The award recognizes those who demonstrate through word and deed an extraordinary dedication to the enduring principles that strengthen America's freedom and democracy. The award also recognizes those who make unselfish contributions to their community, state, or nation; those who lead by example; and those who exhibit the highest standards of integrity, discipline, and initiative. Past recipients of the American Spirit Medallion include:

Past Recipients

Dr. Stephen E. Ambrose
  • Dr. Stephen E. Ambrose
  • Author of the best seller Band of Brothers and executive producer of the HBO miniseries of the same title, Ambrose wrote an acclaimed, multivolume biography of Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower's presidency and his service as the Supreme Commander of the Allied assault on Nazi Germany. Among Ambrose's numerous other New York Times best sellers are D-Day and Citizen Soldiers. In addition to founding The National D-Day Museum (later designated by Congress as America's WWII Museum), Dr. Ambrose served as a historical consultant for the film Saving Private Ryan and was a recipient of the National Humanities Award from President Bill Clinton.
Senator Howard H. Baker Jr.
  • SENATOR HOWARD H. BAKER JR.
  • As World War II raged, Senator Howard H. Baker enlisted in the US Navy, where he served as a lieutenant on a PT boat in the South Pacific. After the war, Baker continued his education and began a career of public service in the Senate, including two terms as majority leader and minority leader. Senator Baker was known for his dignity, leadership, diplomacy, and his lifelong service to America.

Ambassador Corrinne 'Lindy' Boggs
  • AMBASSADOR CORINNE “LINDY” BOGGS
  • Marie Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs became the first woman to represent Louisiana in Congress, filling her husband’s vacated seat after his death. She served a long and successful career that encompassed nine terms on Capitol Hill. Boggs, who concluded her career in public service as US Ambassador to the Vatican, was famous for her personal charm and tenacity.
Tom Brokaw
  • TOM BROKAW
  • As an award-winning news anchor and best-selling author, Brokaw has enriched our collective understanding of the WWII generation by publishingThe Greatest Generation, one of the most popular nonfiction works of the 20th century. Through the book and its sequel, The Greatest Generation Speaks, Brokaw has become America’s voice of the generation that so heavily influenced his life and career. In November 2014, Brokaw was presented by President Barack Obama with the Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian award. Brokaw received the French Legion of Honor Medal in May 2016.

President George H.W. Bush
  • PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH
  • From his combat duty as the youngest pilot in the US Navy at the age of 18 to his election as the 41st president of the United States, George H.W. Bush has never failed to give his best for the greater community. His courageous service in World War II earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross, among other awards. His long career is a testament to his leadership, wisdom, goodwill, and generosity.
Senator Robert Dole
  • SENATOR ROBERT DOLE
  • Senator Robert Dole had a distinguished record of public service that has made a difference for America. A decorated and wounded combat veteran of World War II, he received two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with one oak leaf cluster. Dole has had a long career in public service including positions as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, his party’s nominee for US president, member of the House of Representatives, and chairman of the Republican Party.

Tom Hanks
  • TOM HANKS
  • As an actor, Tom Hanks brings to life the same beliefs and values that motivated the men and women who selflessly served their country. From riveting portrayals on film to producing documentaries and television series, he encourages generations removed from World War II to learn all they can about Americans who made history. Hanks received the French Legion of Honor Medal in May 2016.
Secretary of State George Shultz
  • SECRETARY OF STATE GEORGE SHULTZ
  • George Shultz—a labor and economics specialist, educator, author, businessman, and international negotiator—served under three US presidents. During World War II he joined the US Marine Corps and served in the Pacific theater. Shultz entered a life of public service as the first director of the Office of Manpower and Budget, and secretary of the Department of Labor, Department of the Treasury, and Department of State.

WWII Veteran Medal of Honor Recipients

  • VERNON BAKER
  • First Lieutenant, US Army Company C, 370th Regiment, 92nd Infantry Division—May 6, 1945, near Viareggio, Italy
  • VAN T. BARFOOT
  • Second Lieutenant, US Army, 157th Infantry, 45th Infantry Division—May 23, 1944, near Carano, Italy
  • WALTER D. EHLERS
  • Staff Sergeant, US Army, 18th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division—June 9, 1944, near Goville, France
  • JOHN FINN
  • Lieutenant, US Navy—December 7, 1941, Kaneohe Bay, Territory of Hawaii
  • CHARLES P. MURRAY JR.
  • First Lieutenant, US Army, Company C, 30th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division—December 16, 1944, near Kayserberg, France
  • HERSHEL W. “WOODY” WILLIAMS
  • Corporal, US Marine Corps Reserve, 21st Marines, 3rd Marine Division—February 23, 1945, Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands
  • ARTHUR J. JACKSON
  • Private First Class, US Marine Corps, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division—September 18, 1944, Island of Peleliu

American Spirit Medallion Recipients

Since its beginning as The National D-Day Museum, the Museum has bestowed this award upon individuals who demonstrate extraordinary dedication to the principles that strengthen America’s freedom and democracy. Through their work and philanthropy, American Spirit Medallion recipients exemplify the highest standards of integrity, discipline, and initiative while making unselfish contributions to their community, state, or nation.


Past Recipients Include

WWII Veterans Serving in Congress in 2004
Vice Admiral Thad W. Allen
Former Senator Howard Baker
Mr. Vernon Baker
Mr. Van T. Barfoot
Mr. Tom Brokaw
Former President George H.W. Bush
Former Senator Robert “Bob” Dole
Rear Admiral Robert F. Duncan
Colonel Terry Ebbert
Mr. Walter D. Ehlers
Mr. John Finn
Dr. Norman C. Francis
Mr. Maurice “Hank” Greenberg
Mr. Tom Hanks
Lieutenant General. Russell L. Honorè
Mrs. Bonnie McElveen-Hunter
Mr. Arthur J. Jackson
Mr. Peter Kalikow
Dr. Henry A. Kissinger
Mr. Charles P. Murray Jr.
General Colin Powell
Former Secretary of State George Shultz
Mr. Gary Sinise
Mr. John Whitehead
Governor William Winter

Silver Service Medallion Recipients

The president of The National WWII Museum awards the Silver Service Medallion to veterans and those with a direct connection to World War II who have served our country with distinction and continue to lead by example.


Past Recipients

Hal Baumgarten, PhD
Lieutenant General John W. Bergman
Colonel Thomas Beron
Mr. Richard E. Cole
Mr. Harry Connick Sr.
Mrs. Elizabeth Dole
Rear Admiral Robert F. Duncan
Brigadier General Mark A. Graham
Major Norman Hatch
Rear Admiral Joseph Kilkenny
Major General Bennett C. Landreneau
Mr. Dwight Landreneau
Brigadier General Ralph Lupin
Major General Scott Mays
The Honorable George McGovern
Mr. Ralph Morse
Mr. Amos Pierce
Mr. Carl Reiner
Superintendent Warren Riley
Mrs. Betty Reid Soskin
Mr. Bert Stolier
Dr. Lester Tenney
The Armed Forces
Colonel Henry L. Whitehorn
Mr. Jerry Yellin

The Billy Michal Student Leadership Award

Students pose in front a B-17

The National WWII Museum is pleased to announce an important addition to its American Spirit Award: the Billy Michal Student Leadership Award, given annually to one student from each state and the District of Columbia who demonstrates the American Spirit in his or her community.


The values of leadership, teamwork, tolerance, creativity, and perseverance can and should be learned and lived by all Americans regardless of age. When six-year-old Billy Michal from Zimmerman, Louisiana, helped his one-room school win a statewide scrap-metal collection contest during World War II, he understood that every citizen—no matter how small—could contribute to our victory in the war.


Learn more about Billy and his classroom's scrapping adventure.


Billy's example, and the actions of millions of other students on the Home Front, reminds us that service to country and community helps create active, engaged citizens. Through this award, the Museum promotes these values to students nationwide and honors those who exemplify them.


The Museum is currently taking nominations from across the country for these awards. Nominees should have a strong record of volunteerism, school and/or community activism, or implementing creative solutions to recognized problems. Selected awardees will be flown (along with a chaperone) to New Orleans to participate in the Museum's American Spirit Awards celebration, . Once there, they will:

  • Tour The National WWII Museum, including behind-the-scenes explorations of the Museum’s exhibits and collections.
  • Meet, befriend, and share ideas with their co-awardees from across the country.
  • Meet with American Spirit Award recipients for a Q&A session.
  • Participate in leadership-building activities.
  • Take a tour of the historic French Quarter.
  • Be featured on the Museum’s American Spirit Award website.
  • Attend a special luncheon banquet where they will receive their awards.
  • Represent their state at the American Spirit Awards gala.

Help us select the recipients of the 2017 Billy Michal Student Leadership Award

  • Nominate a Student!
  • Do you know a student in 8th to 12th grade from your state who demonstrates the values of leadership, teamwork, tolerance, creativity, and perseverance with a strong record for volunteerism, activism, or implementing creative solutions to recognized problems? Nominate them for the Billy Michal Student Leadership Award.
  • Nominate

    Nominations must be received by January 6, 2017.

    Nomination criteria: Nominees currently must be from 8th to 12th grade; only individual students can be nominated, not groups; students may be in public, private, parochial, or home school in the United States; nominees must commit to traveling to New Orleans (with a chaperone, all expenses paid) June 8–10, 2017; awardees will be selected based on their demonstrated commitment to making a positive contribution to their school, community, country, and/or the world; only fully completed nominations will be eligible for consideration.

Table Sponsor Levels & Ticket Pricing

Exclusive Recognition Benefits

American Spirit Awards Supporters, Benefactors, Friends, Patrons, and Members are recognized on all printed materials, including event invitation, event program, event web page, the 2017 Annual Donor Wall, and Annual Report.

The National WWII Museum is an institution that honors those who served at home and abroad during World War II. We invite you to recognize your personal connection to the war that changed the world by honoring a loved one with your Gala table sponsorship. The name of your honoree will be placed on the table the night of the event and printed in the evening’s program. Take advantage of this special recognition opportunity by indicating your honoree’s name under the table sponsorship of your choice.

Sponsorship Opportunities

  • $25,000
    Veteran Sponsor
  • 10 tickets purchased for American Spirit Awards plus a donation to allow a veteran and his/her guest to attend American Spirit Awards (two tickets)**
  • Admittance to the American Spirit Awards Patron Reception (Thursday, June 8, 2017)
  • Admittance to the American Spirit Awards Luncheon and Leadership Forum (Friday, June 9, 2017)
  • Admittance to the American Spirit Awards Gala (Friday, June 9, 2017)
  • Photo opportunity for two couples (purchaser) at the 2017 American Spirit Awards Gala with inclusion in post-event marketing materials (when available)
  • Quarter-page ad in the American Spirit Awards program with personalized editorial tribute to a veteran of the purchaser's choosing
  • Six tickets for the Dedication Ceremony (Saturday, June 10, 2017)
  • **Tickets supported by Veteran Sponsors will be allocated to local veteran organizations.
Purchase
  • $25,000
    Friend of Awardee
  • 10 tickets purchased for American Spirit Awards
  • Admittance to the American Spirit Awards Patron Reception (Thursday, June 8, 2017)
  • Admittance to the American Spirit Awards Luncheon and Leadership Forum (Friday, June 9, 2017)
  • Admittance to the American Spirit Awards Gala (Friday, June 9, 2017)
  • Photo opportunity for two couples at the 2017 American Spirit Awards Gala with inclusion in post-event marketing materials (when available)
  • Quarter-page ad in the American Spirit Awards program with personalized editorial tribute to your desired awardee
  • Six tickets for the Dedication Ceremony (Saturday, June 10, 2017)
Purchase
  • $20,000
    Supporter
  • 10 tickets purchased for American Spirit Awards
  • Admittance to the American Spirit Awards Patron Reception (Thursday, June 8, 2017)
  • Admittance to the American Spirit Awards Luncheon and Leadership Forum (Friday, June 9, 2017)
  • Admittance to the American Spirit Awards Gala (Friday, June 9, 2017)
  • Photo opportunity for two couples at the 2017 American Spirit Awards Gala with inclusion in post-event marketing materials (when available)
  • Four tickets for the Dedication Ceremony (Saturday, June 10, 2017)
  • 2018 Normandy Academy Scholar Sponsor
Purchase
  • $15,000
    Benefactor
  • 10 tickets purchased for American Spirit Awards
  • Admittance to the American Spirit Awards Patron Reception (Thursday, June 8, 2017)
  • Admittance to the American Spirit Awards Luncheon and Leadership Forum (Friday, June 9, 2017)
  • Admittance to the American Spirit Awards Gala (Friday, June 9, 2017)
  • Photo opportunity for one couple at the 2017 American Spirit Awards Gala with inclusion in post-event marketing materials (when available)
  • Four tickets for the Dedication Ceremony (Saturday, June 10, 2017)
  • 2018 Summer Residential Program Scholar Sponsor
Purchase
  • $10,000
    Friend
  • 10 tickets purchased for American Spirit Awards
  • Admittance to the American Spirit Awards Patron Reception (Thursday, June 8, 2017)
  • Admittance to the American Spirit Awards Luncheon and Leadership Forum (Friday, June 9, 2017)
  • Admittance to the American Spirit Awards Gala (Friday, June 9, 2017)
Purchase
  • $2,500
    Veteran Supporter
  • **Donation to allow a WWII veteran and one guest to attend American Spirit Awards
  • Admittance to the American Spirit Awards Patron Reception (Thursday, June 8, 2017)
  • Admittance to the American Spirit Awards Luncheon and Leadership Forum (Friday, June 9, 2017)
  • Admittance to the American Spirit Awards Gala (Friday, June 9, 2017)
  • ** Tickets supported by Veteran Supporters will be allocated to local veteran organizations.
Purchase

Patron Opportunities

  • $1,000
    Individual Patron Ticket
  • Admittance to the American Spirit Awards Patron Reception, Luncheon and Leadership Forum, and Gala
Purchase
  • $750
    Member Patron Ticket
    Active Museum Membership Required
  • Admittance to the American Spirit Awards Patron Reception, Luncheon and Leadership Forum, and Gala
  • Purchase
  • $500
    Individual Gala Ticket
  • Admittance to the American Spirit Awards Gala
  • Purchase
  • I am unable to attend, but wish to make a contribution on behalf of the American Spirit Awards Education Fund
Donate

Education at the Museum

The National WWII Museum is a dynamic educational resource, serving the needs of teachers and students from grade school through the postgraduate level. Through exhibitions, on-site programs, distance learning, and online resources, teachers and students from all backgrounds can explore the values and beliefs—the universal concepts—that Americans and their Allies embraced during World War II. USA Today ranked the Museum one of the “Best Places to Learn US Military History.”


Proceeds from the American Spirit Awards will support educational programming at The National WWII Museum—including the ongoing development of classroom materials and professional-development opportunities for teachers in schools across the country, as well as online experiences that bring the Museum and its resources to students around the world.


For more information, contact our Fundraising Events staff at 504-528-1944 x 334 or email Ellen.Buckley
@NationalWW2Museum.org
.