Being knighted by the Queen of England is astounding, but it's better to receive the Medal of Honor in the US.
The idea of being knighted by the Queen of England has been romanticised by Hollywood over the years. Also, nowadays, celebrities, entertainers and all sorts receive a knighthood for their achievements in their field. This is a far cry from the battle-hardened knights of medieval times. These men were knighted for bravery after many years of military training, or who were of noble blood that could lead an army.
Although being able to say you've been knighted is assuredly a conversation-starter, there's not much more to it besides adopting a title, like 'Sir' or 'Lady Dame', before your name. In fact, in ancient times, a knight was "... expected to have the financial ability to support the honour of knighthood, so that he could provide himself with arms, armour, horses and the required number of armed followers to render military service to his Sovereign for a minimum period each year."
Most disappointingly, modern-day knights aren't legally allowed to carry a sword around with them. Sir Terry Pratchett, author of the fantastic Discworld series, did have one made for himself, but couldn't strap it to his side when popping off to the shops, which is a bummer.
The Medal of Honour in America, though, is quite different. Not only do you get a medal that even the US President will salute, regardless of the rank of the officer, but it lines the pockets of the recipient too. This is because, to receive the MOH, a person has to show bravery beyond the realm of mere mortals. These men and ladies are superheroes.
So, what do they get? First up is free flights for them and their family to anywhere in the world that the US military is flying. It's called the Space-A programme, and they can request any available seats on the plane.
Recipients also receive $1,400 per month in their pay-in pension. This starts on the day the deed was done, so even if the soldier only received the medal 15-years later, it will be back paid. They also receive a 10% boost in retirement pay, special parking at military facilities and automatic entry to military morale, welfare and recreation facilities.
Other benefits include education for the soldier and kids and a ton of other perks for the family. It also grants the recipient a place in the Arlington National Cemetary, with a gold-lettered tombstone.
All-in-all, receiving the Medal of Honor is a big deal, and only around 3,500 have been awarded since its inception in 1861. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the award, many of these soldiers receive their medal posthumously. In this case, many of the benefits are granted to the family.
To learn more about receiving a knighthood or a Medal of Honor, then tune in to the video by Today I Found Out below, where host, Simon Whistler, tells us more.