Mar 27 2023
Matt LeClercq | Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The congressional legislation to choose a location for a National Medal of Honor Monument in Washington will be named after Hershel “Woody” Williams, who was the last living recipient from World War II.
The effort to build the monument on the National Mall is spearheaded by the National Medal of Honor Museum, which is under construction in Arlington. The museum foundation announced Monday that the legislation for the D.C. monument will be named after Williams, who received the medal for extraordinary valor during the Battle of Iwo Jima. He died last summer at the age of 98.
The foundation also announced Monday it has received a founding gift to build the monument.
Congress authorized the monument in 2021. In April, U.S. Rep. Blake Moore of Utah will introduce the legislation to determine its location. The decision will go through numerous federal committees and back to Congress for final approval. The design process, which will be open to the public, will start after the site is chosen. Money to build the monument will come from a later round of fundraising.
David McIntyre Jr. of TriWest Healthcare Alliance is making the first founding gift for design and construction of the monument. The company manages health care benefits through contracts with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The National Medal of Honor Museum in Arlington’s entertainment district broke ground in March 2022 and had raised more than $185 million as of December toward its goal of about $230 million to open in late 2024.
The museum, near Arlington’s sports stadiums, 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 initial round of fundraising will go toward building the museum, putting up the exhibits and starting the Medal of Honor Institute to provide experiential leadership programs modeled after the valor and values of medal recipients.
Williams, who died last summer, served in the Marines and later dedicated his life to uplifting and honoring veterans through the Woody Williams Foundation, according to the museum. The foundation is active in 179 communities across 50 states and has installed over 100 memorial monuments to Gold Star families. Out of 40 million service members since the Civil War, 3,516 have received the Medal of Honor for extraordinary valor in combat, and only 65 recipients are alive today, according to the museum.