he National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation today applauded the introduction in the U.S. Congress of the “Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams National Medal of Honor Monument Location Act.” The bipartisan legislation would locate a new monument dedicated to recipients of our nation’s highest award for valor in combat within 1,000 feet of the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
Introduction of the legislation comes as the nation marks the 160th anniversary of the awarding of the first Medals of Honor, which were presented by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War – forever tying the Medal to Lincoln’s lasting legacy. The bill calls for the new monument to be “attached to, or not more than 1,000 feet from, the Lincoln Memorial, as a respectful extension of his enduring legacy and recognition of what ordinary people can accomplish when working for the greater good.”
The bill, introduced by U.S. Rep. Blake Moore (R-UT) and Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX), marks the next important step in building a Monument paying tribute to the Medal’s fewer than 4,000 recipients and the values they – and the Medal – represent: courage, sacrifice, integrity, commitment, patriotism, and citizenship.
Moore and Veasey, longtime champions of the National Medal of Honor Museum in Arlington and a national Medal of Honor Monument in our nation’s capital, named the bill in tribute to beloved Medal of Honor recipient Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams, who until his death last summer was the last surviving recipient from World War II and dedicated his life after his service to supporting American veterans and Gold Star families. The bill has received widespread bipartisan support.
In a letter to their House colleagues highlighting the new legislation, Moore and Veasey noted: “The Medal of Honor exemplifies the best qualities we seek to instill in our citizenry, and this national monument will be a beacon for those great ideals. The acts of bravery, service, and sacrifice demonstrated by Medal of Honor Recipients are of utmost importance to our Nation’s deep heritage, and ought to be commemorated in Washington, D.C., alongside the great defining American figures of our history as an inspiration to future generations. These values have guided America throughout our history, and we view this future monument as an essential opportunity to remind the Nation of the cost of freedom and inspire all Americans to find common purpose in being the best citizens they can.”
Introduction of the Monument location legislation follows the 2021 unanimous approval by the House and Senate of a bill authorizing the Monument’s creation. That bill was signed into law by President Biden in late 2021.
“This monument will represent the aspirational American values embodied by the Medal of Honor and will stand as a beacon for those values in our nation’s capital,” said Museum Foundation President and CEO Chris Cassidy. “It is our hope that recognizing the Medal of Honor and its values in a permanent way, while simultaneously commemorating Woody’s shining example of bravery, love, and commitment, will inspire generations of Americans who visit the monument.”
The creation of the monument in Washington, D.C. will complement the future National Medal of Honor Museum, scheduled to open in early 2025 in Arlington, TX. No federal funds will be used to build the monument. The National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation will be responsible for raising funds to cover expenses associated with the project.