Last Sunday we had the traditional winter-over ceremony. Nice things were being said and we got our Antarctica Service Medals. They have been awarded in one form or another since 1945 and the first recipient was Admiral Richard E. Byrd. In 1960 its current form was introduced:
The ribbon of the Antarctica Service Medal is elaborate in its symbology. The outer bands of black and dark blue comprise five-twelfths of the ribbon’s width, representing five months of antarctic darkness; the center portion, by its size and colors – grading from medium blue through light blue and pale blue to white – symbolizes seven months of solar illumination, and also the aurora Australis.
Although the former rigors and dangers of antarctic exploration have largely been banished by technology, the words on the reverse of this medal are yet a wise injunction to those who go to the Antarctic:
(Antarctic Journal of the United States, November-December 1968, pages 241-244)