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Pritzker Military Museum & Library Will Bestow a Posthumous Citizen Soldier Award to Hershel "Woody" Williams at its Annual Liberty Gala

Williams was the Last Living WWII Medal of Honor Recipient

Jul 27 2022
Pritzker Military Museum & Library | Globe Newswire

Chicago, Illinois, July 27, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CHICAGO – July 27, 2022 – The Pritzker Military Museum & Library is humbled and honored to announce that the Museum & Library will bestow its first posthumous Citizen Soldier Award to Hershel “Woody” Williams. “Woody,” who passed on June 29, 2022, at the age of 98, was the last living WWII Medal of Honor recipient. His family has graciously accepted his nomination and the invitation to receive his honor at the 2022 Liberty Gala: “Honoring Strength Through Diversity” on Saturday, November 5, at the Hilton Chicago Hotel.

Woody graciously donated his Medal of Honor to the Pritzker Military Museum & Library in 2009. It plays an integral role in our permanent Medal of Honor gallery, which explores his heroic actions during the Battle of Iwo Jima in the Pacific Theater of WWII. Woody will be honored for his bravery and leadership on the battlefields of World War II, as well as his tireless work on behalf of Gold Star families.

“Woody was a true American hero, and we are honored to preserve his legacy and hold his Medal of Honor for all to see,” stated Colonel (IL) Jennifer N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired). “He was a shining example of the spirit and ideals of the citizen soldier tradition. Adding Woody to the prestigious list of those with the Citizen Soldier designation is really an honor for us.”

Woody Williams served in the Civilian Conservation Corps for a year and a half during the 1930s before enlisting with the Marine Corps in 1943, where he served for 26 years. Until recently, Williams had been active in honoring and remembering the sacrifices of Gold Star Families - the immediate family member(s) of service members who died in the line of duty - through his foundation, the Woody Williams Foundation, established in 2010.

“It will be such a tremendous honor to accept the Citizen Soldier Award on behalf of our family's patriarch and visionary leader, Woody Williams,” the Williams Family said in a quote provided to the PMML. “To join this list of distinguished honorees speaks to the legacy of his life and service in the tradition of the citizen soldier. We know that Woody will be smiling down full of gratitude and humbled by having this honor bestowed upon him by the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, an organization that holds a special place in the hearts of our family and our foundation.”

Woody Williams will be honored alongside Lieutenant Colonel Enoch Woodhouse, Colonel Jack Jacobs, and General Ann Dunwoody as recipients of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library’s 2022 Citizen Soldier Award. The Citizen Soldier Award stands to honor a person who exemplifies the traditions of the citizen soldier set by George Washington, a person who served the nation as a leader in war and in peace, for the betterment of the common good. The recipients must have a national or international reputation and have served in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, active, guard or reserves, and is either active or honorably discharged. The honorees must also display a commitment to non-partisan issues and demonstrate the ability to bridge political divides.

The Citizen Soldier Award recipients are selected by a committee comprised of members of the Board of Directors and non-Board volunteers of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library and by Col. Jennifer N. Pritzker, Chair and Founder of the Museum & Library.

The 2022 Liberty Gala, to be held on Saturday, November 5, at the Hilton Chicago Hotel, will celebrate the work of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library and honor the achievements and services of the U.S. Armed Forces’ citizen soldiers, past and present.

For more information on the Liberty Gala or to learn more about the nominees for the Citizen Soldier award, please visit the website at

About Pritzker Military Museum & Library

The Pritzker Military Museum & Library aims to increase the public’s understanding of military history, military affairs, and national security by providing a forum for the study and exploration of our military - past, present, and future - with a specific focus on their stories, sacrifices, and values. With national and global reach, these spaces and events aim to share the stories of those who served and their contributions as citizen soldiers, helping citizens everywhere appreciate the relationship between the armed forces and the civilians whose freedoms they protect. A non-governmental, non-partisan organization, the Museum & Library features diverse collections, scholarly initiatives, and public programs from its flagship center in downtown Chicago to its world-class research center and park currently under construction in Somers, Wisconsin.