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National Monument in the Works to Commemorate 160th Anniversary of Medal of Honor

March 30, 2023

Mountaineer News

Woody Williams Foundation

It was 160 years ago that the first Medals of Honor were awarded to Civil War soldiers. Today, plans are underway to build a permanent monument on the National Mall in Washington D.C. to commemorate this significant milestone. The monument will serve as a tribute to the brave men and women who have received this prestigious award for their extraordinary acts of valor.

Sadly, the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, Woody Williams, passed away last year. Born and raised in West Virginia, Williams was the only surviving Marine in his 6-man demolition team at the Battle of Iwo Jima. Chad Graham, President and CEO of the Woody Williams Foundation, emphasized the importance of monuments like this for Gold Star families, saying that they offer a place of permanence for the stories of these heroes to be told for generations to come.

Chris Cassidy, President and CEO of the Medal of Honor Museum and Foundation, expressed pride that the National Medal of Honor Monument Act passed unanimously in both the U.S. House and Senate in 2021. Cassidy added that this project unites people in a time of division, reminding us of the sacrifices made by those who have served our country.

The Medal of Honor serves as a reminder of those who lost their lives in service to their country. As Graham explained, those who receive the medal carry the honor for those who didn't make it home. As of March 2022, there are 66 living Medal of Honor recipients, the youngest being 33-year-old William Carpenter of Mississippi, who received the award for his service in Afghanistan in 2014.

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