on developing a system of honors and awards — part the first

development of a system of awards

many micronations seek to reward their citizens and others through the development of a system of honors, medals, and decorations, the most obvious of which are medals.  this article will provide guidance to the new micronational on the development of such a system, and provide guidance on pitfalls to avoid.

a representative sample of micronational medals

before we begin, we start with such a pitfall—the use of any macro-world military decorations as part of micronational uniforms, if not awarded to the wearer by the macro-national entity in question, is to be strongly discouraged.  this includes not just medals but qualification badges and other insignia that are obviously attributable to a specific military.  the perception of “stolen valour” in the public eye is something to be avoided, both for the sake of your own micronation and for the others to come after you.  in some jurisdictions, such as Australia, it is acceptable to wear your relative’s war medals during ceremonies of remembrance; otherwise such an action is considered tacky, rude, and sometimes even illegal depending on the jurisdiction.  generally, err on the side of caution—if it wasn’t awarded to you, don’t wear it, and if it was awarded to you by a macronational entity, then you should already be aware of the rules and requirements for displaying or wearing such items.

decorations are awarded for many different reasons, such as:

  • commemoration of an event such as a coronation, royal anniversary, etc.
  • service award for completing a period of service, particularly in a hostile environment
  • campaign medals issued for military endeavors
  • decorations for valor

designing a system of awards should take all of the above potential circumstances into account, and should allow room for growth.  for example, maybe you don’t account for service awards initially, but later on decide that long-serving members of your military should receive such an award.  are you able to easily expand your award set to include such awards?

there is generally a hierarchy to awards.  the most objectively difficult or dangerous awards to win (for valour or bravery, etc.) typically precede service awards, which themselves normally precede commemorative awards.

you should determine and document the criteria for awarding each award, as well as the potential recipients.  for example, if you have an award for bravery, is it only for members of your military, or can your civilian population win it as well?  can your decorations be awarded to both non-citizens and citizens, or only to citizens (or even only to non-citizens)?

finally, what format will your decorations take?  the usual route is what we’ve come to call “medals”, being a commemorative disk hung from a short length of ribbon.  however, you may want to think about “turning things on their head” and suspend the ribbon from the disk, as seen in Slabovia’s “king’s mark of merit” award.  briefly, these are made by creating balls of “Fimo” or other bakeable plastic, using a sealing stamp (like you’d use for sealing wax, note that it should be lightly coated with mineral oil or baby oil to minimize adhesion) to compress the ball into a disk, and then baking it per the manufacture’s instructions.  after it has cooled, a quick rinse removes any residual mineral oil, and then the ridges of the impression are highlighted with a metallic marker.  finally a ribbon is cut to length and glued to the back, and the award is ready—see the picture.

allowing our thoughts to stray further, while medals are normally worn on the chest, that is by no means the only part of the anatomy that could be decorated.  we could, for example, picture an award system founded on lengths of cord of various colours, intricately knotted into lanyards.  of course, if your awards system allows for more than one award per individual, you might want to remember that humans generally have only two arms available (at most) for such a display.

author bio

King George 2.0 is the ruler of Slabovia, the chair of MicroCon 2019, and the founder of the Microphalerist Educational Archive and Library of Slabovia (MEDALS).  he resides in Toronto, Canada, with his Queen Consort, the royal mouse-catcher Schroedinger, and the trainee royal mousecatcher Madeline.

about MEDALS

the Microphalerist Educational Archive and Library of Slabovia (MEDALS) was created by royal charter signed in 2018 by His Royal Majesty King George 2.0 of Slabovia.  the archive exists to document, for the public interest, examples of awards, honors, and medals that are awarded by micronations.  the archive can be found online here.