Apr 19 2023
Matt Leclercq | Fort Worth Star Telegram
The future monument in Washington, D.C., dedicated to Medal of Honor recipients will stand in the shadow of the first president to pin the nation’s highest award for valor in combat.
Bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress on Wednesday calls for the monument to be attached to or not more than 1,000 feet from the Lincoln Memorial, on the west end of the National Mall.
The North Texas-based National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation is leading the effort to erect the monument in Washington, as well as the construction of the museum in Arlington that will open in early 2025. The monument has not yet been designed.
The legislation to choose the monument’s location is named after Hershel “Woody” Williams, the last living recipient from World War II. The sponsors are Democratic Rep. Marc Veasey of Fort Worth and Republican Rep. Blake Moore of Utah.
In a letter to House colleagues, Moore and Veasey called the future monument “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.”
The choice of a site near the iconic memorial to Lincoln would be a “respectful extension of his enduring legacy and recognition of what ordinary people can accomplish when working for the greater good,” the bill says.
Congress authorized the monument in 2021. No federal funds will be used to build it; the museum foundation is raising money to cover expenses. “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 Chris Cassidy, the museum foundation president and CEO. “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 museum under construction in Arlington near Choctaw Stadium will be the only national institution dedicated to telling the stories of America’s 3,551 recipients of the highest military decoration for valor in combat.
It is expected to attract 650,000 to 800,000 visitors a year. The museum will aim to humanize these war heroes to help visitors relate and be inspired to do great things in their own lives. The exhibits will tell the “origin stories” of these Americans who ended up doing extraordinary acts of bravery.
The museum also will show what happened to the servicemen after the war — how those who survived went on to contribute in many ways to their communities. “We want to tell their story not just at the moment of action, but where they came from,” said Cory Crowley, executive vice president of the museum foundation, in December. “The same values that caused them to do what they did on the battlefield could be the same values in what you can do in your community or family or circle of friends, to make a difference.”