Traditional Values

Medal Of Honor Heroes Are Remembered

Our country's best.

I’ve had the distinct honor of meeting several Medal of Honor recipients at receptions and other events. The daughter of one is a very close friend. The family of another, the recipient pictured in the tweet below, have also been friends. This nation should spend more than one day remembering these men who served all of us with high valor. Army veteran John Falkenbury, EVP of the MOH Society, reminds us of that.

The author with MOH recipient Tom Norris.

Falkenbury: Friday, March 25 is National Medal of Honor Day – why should we care? The answer lies in the legacy of the Medal of Honor, the recipients and their contributions to the nation.

On March 25, 1863, Private Jacob Parrot received the first Medal of Honor for his actions during the Civil War – a time that pitted brother against brother to abolish slavery as an institution. Since then, more than 40 million men and women have worn the cloth of our nation – in peace and in war — with only 3,511 Recipients awarded the Medal.

While the enemies they fought in defense of our nation have changed, living Recipients have shared something in common –a desire that no more Medals of Honor be awarded.

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For while the 66 living Recipients have the privilege of wearing the Medal, preserving its legacy, and honoring the Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen who have worn it, they have also borne the hardships that led to the honor and witnessed the worst of mankind on what some describe as the worst day of their lives.

Since 1958 when Congress established the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, Medal of Honor Recipients, through its Society, have served as the principal guardian of the legacy and dignity of the Medal and embraced the mission to inspire our youth to become “worthy citizens.”

To ensure the legacy was preserved, in 1999 Congress, through the Medal of Honor Memorial Act, formally established the Congressional Medal of Honor Museum aboard the USS Yorktown in Charleston harbor. The museum, its archives and the Society’s national headquarters remain there but serve as a nucleus of support for other organizations that honor the legacy of the Medal and the Recipients.

It is from the Medal of Honor Society’s national headquarters that educational and outreach programs established and managed by Medal of Honor Recipients are offered to educators, parents, veterans, colleges, corporations, and other entities to install values held dear by the recipients – courage, commitment, integrity, sacrifice, citizenship, and patriotism.

Character Development Program lesson plans built on the actions of Recipients, their oral and video histories, and research archives have reached or been used by thousands. As a nonprofit, the Society is only able to offer these at no cost due to the generous support of individuals, corporations, and foundations.

This brings us to National Medal of Honor Day – and why, as a nation we should care. It is a day in which the recipients and its Society will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery to pay respects to the men and women who have served our nation.

This hallowed ground is not the only place recipients will gather. From Charleston, South Carolina, in the east to Riverside National Cemetery, California, in the west, Recipients and local communities will honor the legacy of the Medal of Honor.

At Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum, home to the Society’s museum, educational tours highlighting Recipient actions associated with the onboard artifacts will take place throughout the day. The Charles Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will honor the legacy of Pvt. Parrot and others who received the first Medal for actions during the Civil War…

The awards will be presented for service in July in Charleston, South Carolina, and valor at the Medal of Honor Convention in Knoxville, Tennessee, in September. The Citizen Honor Awardees emulate the values held by Medal of Honor Recipients and will be ambassadors in their communities for perpetuating the legacy of their award and of the Medal of Honor.

So again, why should we care? Today, more than ever, the values of the Medal as preserved by the Medal of Honor Recipients are a national treasure.

On March 25, and every day, you can honor the sacrifices and inspire the future by taking part in local memorial activities, using the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s programs to educate and inspire our citizenry, or volunteering your services to your community or our nation.

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
2 months ago

Like to see MOH merge with Mem & Veterans Days events too
& Homes display MOH pennets for kin who won award made visible