Military medals are hard-won symbols of bravery, valor, and skill. Each tells a story of a moment in history and a person who rose to the occasion. As works of military art, they can also be quite beautiful, whether their colorful ribbons bear enameled crosses, metal stars and bars, or commemorative coins.
Medals are awarded for service and conduct, as well as participation in a particular campaign. Strictly speaking, medals encompass all awards that hang from a ribbon, unless the award is a decoration, which is only awarded for distinction on the battlefield. Even so, the term medal is frequently used to describe decorations.