Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is one of the two highest civilian awards in the United States (the other being the Congressional Gold Medal awarded by the Legislative Branch of the US Gov't).The Medal of Freedom is designed to recognize individuals who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, or to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors." It is the civilian equivalent of the Medal of Honor.

It was established by President Harry Truman in 1945 to honor service during World War II. President John F. Kennedy revived the medal in 1963 through Executive Order 11085, and expanded its purpose. To date, 5 Phis have been awarded this prestigious medal.

Thomas Francis Jr. Allegheny College, 1921
Neil Armstrong Purdue, 1955
James Baker Texas, 1957
Bryce Harlow Oklahoma, 1936
James A. Michener Swarthmore College, 1929

Facts about Phis in Government
"Among Friends"

Benjamin Harrison Miami University, 1852 had another Phi in his Cabinet during his presidency: Secretary of State John W. Foster, Indiana University, 1855. Coincidentally, when Harrison lost his re-election bid in 1893, the Vice Presidential Candidate of the opposing party was Adlai Stevenson, Centre College, 1860.

"Conable's Gun"

"Smoking Gun". This phrase, meaning evidence of guilt, is of relatively recent origin. It actually was first coined by Republican congressman Barber Conable, Cornell, 1943 during the Watergate investigation. The smoking gun in question then was a 23 June 1973 tape of a conversation between Richard Nixon and his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman:

Haldeman: ... the FBI is not under control ... and you think the thing to do is to get them, the FBI, to stop?

Nixon: Right, fine.

Upon hearing the tape, Conable stated that it "looked like a smoking gun," meaning that from the tape it was clear that Nixon had approved the cover up. Conable may not have been the first to use the phrase, but he was the first to get credit for using it. Conable who was a long time ally of Nixon never forgave the President for misleading the nation.

"Linked in History
Nestos and.....Schwarzenegger?"

What do Ragnvald Nestos, University of North Dakota, 1904 , Governor of North Dakota and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California have in common? They are the only two Governors who replaced a re-called Governor. Nestos became governor during the first recall in US History when voters re-placed Lynn J. Frazier because of overwhelming dispute over state run industries

"Thank You...But I'm Needed Elsewhere"

Robert P. Patterson, Union College, 1912 one of Phi Delta Theta's greatest soldiers and politicians was offered to be a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court by Pres. Truman. Having served as the first Undersecretary of War in US history under the Roosevelt administration and then being the Secretary of War under Truman, Patterson declined because he felt he could do a better job as Sect. of War post World War II when the armed forces needed to reconfigure themselves for rebuilding Europe and Asia and prepare for the advent of the Cold War. He once remarked "We do not ask our boys in combat to do an adequate job; we ask them to do their best. We can do no less."

"Man of Principle"

Thomas Hardwick, Mercer University, 1892 the only Phi to serve as Governor, Senator and Congressman stands out as one of the most courageous politicians. As a Governor of Georgia from 1921-23 he denounced the then powerful Ku Klux Klan as a lawless organization who did not have a place in civilized society. He went so far as seeking court orders and martial law to curb their influence. Even during his re-election campaign, he continued to denounce the Klan. He lost his re-election due mainly to the leaders of the organization. In his place Clifford Walker was elected Governor who not only had the support of the Klan but was eventually exposed as a member.

"First Woman"

Thomas Hardwick, Mercer University, 1892 was also known for perhaps one of the most important appointments in US Senate history. He appointed Rebecca Latimer Felton, the first woman to ever serve in the United State Senate. When Senator Thomas E. Watson died prematurely, Hardwick sought an appointee who would not be a competitor in the coming special election to fill the vacant seat, and a way to secure the vote of women voters. Hardwick chose Felton to serve as Senator on October 3, 1922. Congress was not expected to reconvene until after the election, so the chances were slim that Felton would be formally sworn in as Senator. However, Walter George won the special election despite Hardwick's ploy. Rather than take his seat immediately when the Senate reconvened on November 21, 1922, George allowed Felton to be officially sworn in. Felton thus became the first woman seated in the Senate, and served until George took office on November 22, 1922, one day later.

"444 Days of Captivity"

The Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979 was one of the darkest moments in US history. 66 American diplomats and citizens were held captive for 444 days following the departure of the Shah from Iran and the rise of The Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini into power during the Iranian Revoultion. One of the Americans was Alan Bruce Golacinski, Maryland 1972 who served as the Security Chief. Golacinski along with the others were finally released on January, 1981.