When awarded with the ribbon shown here it was for gallantry, devotion to duty or exceptional service. The medal could also be awarded for long service, but with a different ribbon. The decoration was established in 1873 and continues today. The front bears the Belgian lion and the motto “L’UNION FAIT LA FORCE” (Strength in unity) as well as the WWII monogram for King Leopold III. Beautiful award with stellar gold gilding, textbook in every way possible.