Grand Army Of The Republic Membership Medal- Top bar is a brass patriotic spread winged eagle perched on cross cannon barrels over a stack of cannonballs. The reverse has a pin and bar for suspending the US flag ribbon, this flag ribbon has endured some wear. Attached to the US flag bottom is a star shaped drop medal. The face of the medal has the Goddess of Liberty in the center, representing loyalty, and on either side stands a soldier and a sailor clasping hands in front of the Goddess to represent fraternity. Two children are kneeling in the foreground to receive a benediction and the assurance of protection from comrades. This is the symbol of charity. On each side of this center group are the flag and eagle representing freedom and an ax and a bundle of rods for union. In the star points are the emblems of different arms of service, bugle for infantry, cannon for artillery, muskets for marines, swords for cavalry, and an anchor for sailors. Surrounding the center is the legend, Grand Army of the Republic, 1861 Veterans -1866, the later date commemorating the close of the war and the founding of the order.
On the reverse side is a laurel branch for victory, and the national shield surrounded by the different corps badges, each on a keystone showing that they are united and will protect the union. The clasp of the badge is an eagle with crossed cannons and ammunition, representing defense. The clasp and medal are united by the national flag, which is the ribbon of the order.
Genuine medals were given only to bona fide members of the GAR, and were not to be sold or replicated. The medals were worn on occasions of any GAR meeting or any patriotic ceremony, especially when a veteran wanted to be identified as such to the public.
At its height, the GAR numbered over 400,000 members and was a social and political force, electing several Presidents who were Civil War Veterans themselves.
Inventory Number: VET 050