Sen. Richard Lugar

2012, Sen. Richard Lugar

The Republican lawmaker and party leader on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was presented with the award at the 94th National Convention in Indianapolis - the capital of his home state - close to the end of his 36-year Senate career. Lugar was honored for his long and heralded service to veterans and national security, as well as his commitment to bipartisanship.

Chet Edwards

2011, Chet Edwards

Former U.S. Democratic Rep. Chet Edwards was honored with the Distinguished Service Medal at the 93rd National Convention in Minneapolis for his unflagging support of Legion principles during his time in office.

National Commander Jimmie Foster, in presenting the award, lauded Edwards as "a true champion for veterans and American Legion issues ... although his district was in Waco, Texas, his legislative record benefited veterans everywhere.

Boy Scouts of America

2010, Boy Scouts of America

Boy Scouts of America, the first national youth activity officially recognized by The American Legion, received the Distinguished Service Medal at the 92nd National Convention in Milwaukee.

Gen. David Petraeus

2009, Gen. David Petraeus

For his leadership as commander of Multi-National Force Iraq in 2007 and 2008, Petraeus received the Legion's Distinguished Service Medal in 2009.

Presenting the award, National Commander David K. Rehbein praised Petraeus for the success of the "surge" strategy. "He would be the first to tell you that the credit for the success in Iraq belongs to those who served and those who are still serving there," he told Legionnaires.

President George W. Bush

2008, President George W. Bush

For combating terrorism and resolving to keep America strong in the face of global threats, the nation's 43rd commander in chief received The American Legion's Distinguished Service Medal in 2008.

Dr. Kenneth W. Kizer

2007, Dr. Kenneth W. Kizer

In 2007, The American Legion awarded Kizer the Distinguished Service Medal, recognizing him as the chief architect and driving force behind the radical transformation of VA health care between 1994 and 1999.

A former Navy diver and member of Post 38 in Rockland, Calif., Kizer "truly understands the concept of veterans helping veterans," National Commander Paul Morin said.

Maj. Gen. Patrick H. Brady

2006, Maj. Gen. Patrick H. Brady

For his vision and leadership in the Citizens Flag Alliance's campaign to return to the American people the right to protect their flag, Brady received the Legion's Distinguished Service Medal in 2006.

"Our nation is secure from any external threat," Brady told convention delegates. "The true threat is internal. And it comes from an elite of counterfeit patriots who ... were raised on a different playing field than we were. They never saw a battlefield. They will never sacrifice life or limb for America. In fact, they don't believe in sacrifice."

Gen. Richard B. Myers

2005, Gen. Richard B. Myers

Praised by National Commander Thomas P. Cadmus for "his vision and leadership in today's defense efforts and the pursuit of peace," Myers - who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2001 to 2005 - received the Legion's Distinguished Service Medal in 2005.

Drs. Jeanne Mager Stellman and Steven Stellman

2003, Drs. Jeanne Mager Stellman and Steven Stellman

For their work linking illnesses of Vietnam War veterans to the herbicide and defoliant sprayed by the U.S. military in country, The American Legion recognized chemist Jeanne Mager Stellman and her husband Steven, an epidemiologist, with the Distinguished Service Medal in 2003.

Rep. Bob Stump

2002, Rep. Bob Stump

One of The American Legion's great friends in Congress and a strong advocate for veterans, Stump received the Distinguished Service Medal in 2002. Though he was too ill to attend the national convention, he sent a message of gratitude via videotape.

In his tribute, National Commander Richard J. Santos said Stump "has three strong characteristics among his core values: hard work, perseverance and civil service. Throughout his life, he has demonstrated a love of God and country, and a passion for the law and our constitution."