An example of a posthumous award

A posthumous award is granted after the recipient has died. Many prizes, medals, and awards can be granted posthumously. Australian actor Heath Ledger, for example, won many awards after his death in 2008, particularly concerning his performance as The Joker in the film The Dark Knight.[1] Military decorations, such as the Victoria Cross or the Medal of Honor, are often given posthumously. The title Hero of the Soviet Union was posthumously given, but the Gold Star medal was not awarded itself. During World War II, many countries practiced the granting of posthumous awards.[2] In the Soviet Union, the only posthumous award that was physically awarded was the Order of the Patriotic War. All other awards were not physically awarded. Until 1977, upon the death of an awardee, all medals and awards were returned.[3] Sports awards and titles can be awarded posthumously, for example 1970 Formula One champion Jochen Rindt, who died in a crash late in the season, but still had enough points to be named champion.[4]

Less commonly, certain prizes, medals, and awards are granted only posthumously, especially those that honor people who died in service to a particular cause. Such awards include the Confederate Medal of Honor award, to Confederate veterans who distinguished themselves conspicuously during the American Civil War (1861–1865), and the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal, to military personnel, police, or civilians who died while serving in a United Nations peacekeeping operation.

See also


  1. ^ "Heath Ledger's Family 'So Proud' of Globe Nod". People Magazine. 2008-12-11. Archived from the original on 2022-04-06. Retrieved 2022-04-06.
  2. ^ "Sacrifice Remembered: Posthumous Awards of the Purple Heart in WWII". Army Heritage Center Foundation. 2020-09-30. Archived from the original on 2020-11-25. Retrieved 2022-04-06.
  3. ^ de Vlieger, Auke. "A Few Interesting Pieces". Archived from the original on 2022-12-22. Retrieved 2023-06-04.
  4. ^ Donaldson, Gerald. "Drivers Hall of Fame: Jochen Rindt". Formula1. Archived from the original on 2022-04-06. Retrieved 2022-04-06.