The House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation late last month that would establish a monument in Washington, DC dedicated to Medal of Honor recipients.
The National Medal of Honor Monument Act (H.R. 1664) was passed by a vote of 416-0 on July 26 with 14 members not voting. The Senate has yet to vote on the legislation.
“The brave Medal of Honor recipients are patriots who have put their lives on the line to ensure that we can live freely and prosperously in the greatest nation on earth,” Rep. Marc Veasey, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said in a statement. “That is why from the beginning, I have been proud to spearhead this legislation that will create a place to pay homage to these recipients and the values that the Medal of Honor represents — values of courage, patriotism, commitment, and sacrifice.”
Since the Civil War and as of August 2021, 3,527 troops have been awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest United States military award for valor in combat.
“A monument in our nation’s capital will commemorate the bravery of our nation’s Medal of Honor recipients for current and future generations. We must never forget the sacrifices they made for our freedoms. With this project, we will have a place to learn from and reflect on their service,” said co-sponsor Rep. Blake Moore.
James T. Connors, the CEO of the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation, praised the bill’s passage in a statement.
“Fewer than 4,000 Americans have received the Medal of Honor since its founding during the Civil War, and today there are only 67 recipients alive,” Connors said. “A Monument in our nation’s capital will celebrate the values and stories of our nation’s greatest heroes, but time is of the essence to get this project done. We want to thank Reps. Veasey and Moore, as well as Sens. Cornyn and Kaine, for their invaluable leadership. This is a Monument to unite all Americans, and we urge the Senate to swiftly pass this bill and send it to President Biden’s desk.”
Lt. Col. William Swenson, who received the Medal of Honor as a captain, told the Washington Examiner that the proposed monument is a way to show the world “what our values are, this is American exceptionalism.”
“I think that we, as a nation, especially right now, we need to be looking for things that didn’t bring us together,” the hero continued. “We really need to see those things that are nonpartisan that really do not reflect our lesser traits, but really take on those aspirational components of who we are as a country.”