Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Medal of Honor Recipients Plan Big Showing for Convention

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 17, 2009 – At least 59 of the 96 living Medal of Honor recipients are expected to attend the upcoming annual convention of the society named for them.
The host committee of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s convention, scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19 in Chicago, announced the number in a statement released on the

convention Web site noting the unlikelihood of assembling that many recipients of the military’s highest honor at once. Of the 42 million men and women who have served in the military since the award began during the Civil War, only 3,447 have been presented the Medal of Honor, many of them posthumously. “Statistically, only about 1 percent of America's population will ever be in the same room with one Medal of Honor recipient,” the committee wrote. “A much smaller fraction of that will ever have the opportunity to actually meet a recipient. “Recipients will tell you that while they understand courage, they felt intense fear … and it is the ability to overcome fear in any situation that leads one to strength and understanding … with strength and understanding, comes courage. With courage, comes sacrifice,” the committee wrote. To each of the recipients, what they did was very logical, the committee wrote. “The human quality they have an over abundance of is courage.” Under the convention theme, “Commit to Courage,” the society profiles the following recipients as examples of courage in combat: -- Mike Thornton, a Navy Seal in Vietnam who, upon learning that his commander, Tom Norris, was presumed dead from an enemy ambush, ran into intense enemy fire to rescue Norris, then swam two and a half hours with him and another comrade on his back to safety. When Thornton was awarded the Medal of Honor, he spirited Norris out of the hospital where he was recovering to the White House ceremony so they could be together. Several years later, when Norris himself was awarded the Medal of Honor -- for a covert action known now as "The Rescue of Bat 21" - Thornton was by his side. On that day, Thornton became the first recipient in more than 100 years to have saved the life of another recipient. -- Walter Ehlers spent much of World War II training and fighting side by side with his brother, Roland. Ehlers brought his company out of a Higgins boat 100 yards off shore and landed just before the second wave in a hail of fire on D-Day at Normandy, France. He got all his men safely across the beach and, the following day, moved miles in country. Among the hedgerows there, Ehlers distinguished himself in saving the lives of wounded comrades who came upon intense machine gun fire. He would learn several weeks later that, farther down the beach in Normandy, his brother never made it to shore on D-Day. -- Gary Littrell, on a hill in Vietnam, began defending against a vicious enemy offensive with 247 men and came off the hill with fewer than 50. One witness statement said simply "Littrell was everywhere" exposing himself to intense fire during the hours-long battle, directing troops, providing radio support, ammunition, evacuation of wounded. In the end, Littrell was never wounded -- in his words, "not a scratch." In its statement, the committee said it chose this year’s theme as “a rallying call to the citizens of Chicago, our students and all members of our armed forces who serve our country past and present to take the initiative, respond to the challenge, and act responsibly - indeed, courageously -- when the opportunity presents itself in our daily lives.”

(From a message from the host committee for the 2009 Chicago Commit to Courage Medal of Honor Convention.)


AirmanMom said...

I can't wait to read the follow up story!
Can you imagine being present in that room? I'd cry as soon as I step foot in the door.
Thank you for posting this story!

Tami said...

I agree. I can only imagine what it would be like to stand in that room.

I will keep my eyes open for the follow up.

God Bless,

Shannon said...

Just an FYI guys... I hope this is not too misplaced. I found your site in a google search for military-related blogs. I am trying to spread the word that Canvas On Demand is giving away free $112 custom canvas prints to military spouses during their "Operation Hi Honey" promotion. My brother-in-law was in the 34th infantry division in Iraq the last time they did a similar promo and his mother nominated him for a free canvas - of which he won. If you would check it out and post it, I would really appreciate it and think it is an awesome idea! Here is the link...

I know this particular comment-placement may not be the best (it is moderated anyway), but I think this is an awesome nod towards our military and wanted to let you know. I am also emailing Tami. Thanks! -Shannon

TetVet68 said...

Remember Pearl Harbor -- Keep America Alert!

America's oldest living Medal of Honor recipient, living his 100th year is former enlisted Chief Petty Officer, Aviation Chief Ordnanceman (ACOM), later wartime commissioned Lieutenant John W. Finn, U. S. Navy (Ret.). He is also the last surviving Medal of Honor, "The Day of Infamy", Japanese Attack on the Hawaiian Islands, Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, 7 December 1941.

Visit my photo album tribute:

San Diego, California

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Your radiator comment was hysterical!! Everytime I see Mr. Chompers sitting there I will now think of him trying to convince it to TURN ON!!


Tami said...

I am happy to put a smile on your face. Thanks for stopping by.

God Bless,

Tami said...

Thank you for your service and the information.

God Bless,