Sep 22 2021
PRNewswire | Murfreesboro Post
KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Sept. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Knoxville Medal of Honor Celebration Host Committee will hold a special ceremony on Monday, Sept. 27 at 2:00 p.m. at the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial at World's Fair Park. It's the official kick off for the 2022 Congressional Medal of Honor Society Convention for Recipients of the United States' highest military award for valor which will be held in Knoxville, Sept. 13-17, 2022. World War II veteran and Medal of Honor Recipient Hershel W. "Woody" Williams, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), will attend the Flag Raising ceremony.
"Raising the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Flag is a solemn and powerful rite that signifies the passing of the torch from Boston, where this year's Medal of Honor Celebration was held, to Knoxville, where we will host the 2022 event," said Joe Thompson, one of the Celebration directors. "Woody Williams was at Iwo Jima when the American flag was raised on Mount Suribachi, so having him here in Knoxville for our event is truly an honor."
Williams joined the Marines in 1943 and was sent to the Pacific with the 3rd Marine Division as part of a flamethrower/demolition unit. He took part in the invasion of Guam in 1944 before landing on the beachhead at Iwo Jima in February 1945 where Japanese defenses were arranged around pillboxes of reinforced concrete connected by tunnels. With covering fire from four riflemen, Williams strapped on a flamethrower and went after the pillboxes, ultimately creating an opening in the Japanese line, enabling the Marines to advance. When Williams' company was taken off the line 10 days later, only 17 of 279 men were not killed or wounded.
The Knoxville Medal of Honor Celebration team traveled to Boston to accept the Congressional Medal of Honor Society flag on 9/11 and brought it back to Knoxville where it will be raised at the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial at World's Fair Park. Thus begins a year-long series of events culminating in the 2022 Celebration.
Williams received the Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman on Oct. 5, 1945, and he subsequently served his fellow Medal of Honor Recipients as chaplain for many years. Williams is now chaplain emeritus of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
"Medal of Honor Recipients, like Woody, are living legends who continue to put country first as they share their unique and inspiring life experiences," Thompson added. "Speaking on behalf of the Knoxville team, we're delighted and deeply honored to be the host city for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Convention for the second time."
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society was chartered by Congress in 1958 to create a brotherhood among the living Medal of Honor recipients; to protect and uphold the dignity and honor of the Medal; to promote patriotism and love of country; and to inspire our youth to become worthy and dedicated citizens of our nation. Its membership consists exclusively of those individuals who have received the Medal of Honor. Today, there are 67 living recipients of the Medal of Honor. The Society is unique in that its membership hopes that there will be no need to welcome new inductees. For more information, visit cmohs.org.