Plans for National Medal of Honor Monument Progress in Washington, D.C.
Thursday, March 30, 2023
Congress is moving forward with plans to build a National Medal of Honor Monument in Washington, D.C. - honoring the 3,600 Americans who have earned the nation's highest award for valor in combat.
This month marks 160 years since the awarding of the first-ever Medal of Honor, given by President Abraham Lincoln to soldiers fighting in the Civil War.
Chris Cassidy, president and CEO of the Medal of Honor Museum and Foundation said the goal of project the to inspire people through the stories of those who went above and beyond for their country.
"There's lots of stuff right now that divide people," said Cassidy. "There's very few things that bring people together. And this project is something that unites people."
A bill before Congress will pinpoint a specific location for the Monument. The legislation is named after Hershel "Woody" Williams, who was the nation's last living Medal recipient from World War II before he passed away last summer.
Mainer Joshua Chamberlain received the Medal of Honor in 1893 for his heroic actions in Gettysburg, which were also documented in the 1993 Hollywood film depicting the hard-fought battle.
Cassidy said he hopes stories like Chamberlain's and others will teach young Mainers especially the meaning of the word hero.
"The Maine state motto on the flag is 'Dirigo,'" said Cassidy. "It translates to 'I lead' and there's no better example of leading than leading those around you in combat."
Cassidy said these stories of self-sacrifice and courage will be gathered at the new National Medal of Honor Museum and Leadership Institute slated to open next year in Arlington, Texas - where visitors can also reflect on the contributions of all U.S. service members.
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