Please Sign Petition To Honor Yogi With Presidential Medal of Freedom

By  //  June 7, 2015


Please Sign the Petition requesting the President To Honor Yogi With the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Yogi Berra, above with nephews Jim Palermo, left, and Tom Palermo, at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Montclair, New Jersey in 2007. ( image)


It never ceases to amaze that, although still one of the most recognizable celebrities in the country, Yogi Berra remains one of the most modest, genuine, good-hearted and affable individuals you could ever meet.

Yogi in the Navy
At the age of 19 Yogi Berra served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and was a gunner’s mate on the USS Bayfield during the D-Day invasion.

With the 71st anniversary celebration f the D-Day invasion of France this weekend, the campaign to get Yogi, who just turned 90, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, is in full swing.

As 19-year-old U.S. Navy Second Class Seaman Lawrence P. Berra, Yogi played a significant part in the Normandy Invasion. A gunner’s mate, he was one of a six-man crew on  USS Bayfield, a Navy rocket boat, firing machine guns and launching rockets at the German defenses at Omaha Beach. He was fired upon, but was not hit, and later received several commendations for his bravery.


The award is bestowed by the President of the United States and recognizes those individuals who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOMThe medal was established by President Truman in 1945 to recognize notable service in the war. In 1963, President Kennedy reintroduced it as an honor for distinguished civilian service in peacetime.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is, along with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award given by the United States. We’re hoping to get 100,000 signatures on a petition by June 8, and that you will pass along the petition link to your friends, family and network.


Over the years, my brother Tom and I have had the pleasure of spending time with Uncle Yogi and Aunt Carmen (who passed away in March of last year), both here in Florida during their annual Spring Training trips, and at their home in Montclair, New Jersey.

Their Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center on the campus of Montclair State University links the past to the present through the stories of baseball and Yogi Berra and other individuals who have distinguished themselves through their accomplishments and character.

The Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center not only chronicles  the great Yankee teams of the 40s, 50s and 60s, but also provides sports-based educational and public programs that focus on value and character development.

The museum chronicles those incredible Yankee teams from the 40s, 50s and 60s, and Yogi’s truly amazing career as a player, coach, manager and now American cultural icon, as well as providing sports-based educational and public programs that attract educators, students and intergenerational audiences.

Through museum tours and programs, it is emphasized that everyone has the ability to live a long and rewarding life – and even achieve greatness. 

It is regarded as one of the best baseball museums in the country, and provided a great venue for us to showcase the Palermo family’s exceptionally rare MLB game-used bat collection from the mid-50s.



During one of our trips to Montclair, we were driving back to his house from the museum when he stopped and said, “Right here is the famous fork in the road.”

Tom and I gave each other the puzzled look and asked Yogi what he was talking about.  He pointed out to us that the street into his neighborhood ended in a “T” so that you had to go either right or left.

It just so happens that both streets merge after making a wide circle through the neighborhood and Carmen and Yogi’s home was equidistance around the circle from the T.

After the “Aha” moment sunk in, Yogi’s oft-quoted direction to friends coming to his house, “When you come to the fork in the road, take it,” made perfect sense to both of us.

If we add very analytical and logical (in his own way) to modest, genuine, good-hearted and affable, we start to understand why he is one of the most beloved and frequently quoted persons of our lifetime – perhaps in history.


The petition campaign, led by the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, has procured over 39,300 signatures so far, leaving over 60,000 necessary to hit the 100,000 target by June 8.

Dave Kaplan
Dave Kaplan

The petition requests President Barack Obama to honor Yogi with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, an award that has been given to nine other Major League Baseball players, including Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial and Ernie Banks.

“We’re thrilled Yogi is being considered for this wonderful honor, which is befitting his accomplishments, values and military service,” said Dave Kaplan, the director at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Montclair, N.J.

“As everyone knows, he’s an American treasure.”

CLICK HERE  to award Yogi Berra The Presidential Medal of Freedom for his military service and civil rights and educational activism.