Medal of Honor Museum will inspire generations, The Post & Courier – Opinion, Major General Patrick Brady, 8/4/2018
Over the years many cities have offered to house our museum. We chose Mount Pleasant because at a time when we had no home for our headquarters, they chose us and provided one.
For over 20 years Medal of Honor recipients have enjoyed the generosity and hospitality of this community and we are eternally grateful. I have experienced this in person many times, most recently on July 26, speaking to the many dedicated and passionate members of the community. I was, yet again, heartened to hear the enthusiasm for sharing inspiration and education based on the stories of MOH recipients with the rest of America. This Mount Pleasant museum, the National Medal of Honor Museum, is one way of saying thanks.
It will be a sanctuary for the stories, legacy and contributions of the recipients — a vault for our national values. We have museums on wars, on services, on branches of service, on functions, even on race. The National Medal of Honor Museum will encompass all wars from the Civil War on, all services, all branches, all functions and all races. MOH recipients served in every war, in every service, in every branch in every function. This museum will be unique among all the museums of the world.
Recipients trace their roots to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. On their rolls are names that will forever be a part of American history: Sgt. York, Charles Lindbergh, Theodore Roosevelt, Douglas MacArthur and Jimmy Doolittle. No other group better represents the courage, the diversity, the compassion and the honor so characteristic of the majority of our people. They count in their numbers pioneers and leaders in every aspect of our culture: most religions, every race, generals and privates, paupers and millionaires, teachers, lawyers, doctors, actors, poets, and men of God, chaplains. Prisoners as in POW and as in convicts. They are a collection of citizens who not only defended our culture but helped design and enrich it, who turned America from plenty of land into a land of plenty.
The museum concept is simple: inspire and educate. Medal of Honor of recipients believe our lives have meaning only if lived to benefit the next generation. They believe that service to our youth is the highest form of patriotism. This museum will inspire patriotism, the lifeblood of a democracy. It will focus on the psyche of a young student entering an arena of superheroes wearing dog tags instead of capes.
That student will be thrilled with visuals of the selfless grandeur of individual physical courage and sacrifice, the foundation of his or her freedoms. That student will learn that physical courage can win a battle but moral courage can change the world.
That student will see on Mount Rushmore not only great Americans but an MOH recipient, Theodore Roosevelt, who spoke the motto of the museum: “The lives of true heroism are those in which there are no great deeds to look back on, the little things well done go to make up a successful and truly good life.”
That student will learn that it was an MOH recipient who first flew solo across the Atlantic, who first flew in clouds using a gyro to open up the skies for all, who was the first commissioner of the American Football League, who were great athletes, one a president, members of Congress, mayors, governors, journalists, physicians to presidents, famous actors, generals who fought and won our wars and built our railroads. It was an MOH recipient who wrote “Taps” and founded the CIA.
That student will walk out of that museum inspired with the conviction that he, too, can be a hero, knowing that the same values of courage and sacrifice that these men used to excel in combat they also used to excel in life. That student will know those same values can be his to excel in his life. He will learn that fear is an emotion but courage is a decision. G.K. Chesterton said that, “Art is the signature of man.” This museum will be the signature of all MOH recipients and the values they embodied in our past and hope to inspire in our future.
Frankly, I am amazed in the delays surrounding this national treasure. It is time to get off our butts and get it done, to open this treasure for America.
Army Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady (retired) is a Medal of Honor recipient.
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