The blazer has long been a coveted symbol of excellence among athletes. Now the traditional jacket will also represent America's bravest living warriors.
A respected Chicago-based men's clothing store will produce custom-made blazers specifically designed for living recipients of the Medal of Honor, the country's highest award for valor in combat.
The announcement from Hart Schaffner Marx officials came as the 87 living MoH recipients prepared for the upcoming 2010 Medal of Honor Convention in Charleston, S.C., Sept. 29-Oct. 3.
The navy blazers will feature MoH-like gold buttons on the front and sleeves and a special blue lining. The jacket's interior will include the American flag on the utility pocket along with a label personalized with the recipient's name.
The blazer has been a popular symbol in the world of sports. The National Baseball Hall of Fame presents a blue blazer to its inductees, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame awards a gold blazer to its members. Winners of the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Ga., receive a distinctive green blazer.
The Medal of Honor was first awarded March 25, 1863. There have been 3,468 recipients.
There are 87 living recipients, but Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta will soon become No. 88. Giunta, a paratrooper with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, distinguished himself during a fierce battle Oct. 25, 2007, in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. He will be the first living recipient since the Vietnam War.
Details of the award ceremony have not been announced.
The Medal of Honor blazers will be manufactured in Chicago, where Hart Schaffner Marx was founded nearly 125 years ago. The plan is to have recipients travel to a nearby Hart Schaffner Marx partner retailer where measurements will be taken and then forwarded to the Hart Schaffner Marx made-to-measure facility for production.