Hershel “Woody” Williams, the last living Medal of Honor recipient from World War II who died on Wednesday at age 98, will lie in honor at the United States Capitol.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced on Sunday that Williams, a West Virginia native, would be honored at the Capitol.
“Woody Williams was far more than just a hero; he was the greatest of the greatest generation, and a model for future generations. Thank you, @WoodyWilliams45, for your friendship and your lifetime of service to Veterans and Gold Star Families,” Manchin tweeted.
“One of Woody’s last wishes was to lie in state at the US Capitol to represent all WWII Medal of Honor recipients,” he continued. “@SenCapito & I are proud to announce that the last of the Greatest Generation, Woody Williams of Quiet Dell, will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol in the coming weeks.”
Born in 1923, Williams enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in 1943. He served in New Caledonia, Guadalcanal, Guam, and during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II, where his heroic efforts were recognized with the nation’s highest honor. President Truman awarded him the Medal of Honor months later on Oct. 5, 1945.
“His unyielding determination and extraordinary heroism in the face of ruthless enemy resistance were directly instrumental in neutralizing one of the most fanatically defended Japanese strong points encountered by his regiment and aided vitally in enabling his company to reach its objective,” Williams’ Medal of Honor citation said of his heroic efforts.
During a memorial service on Sunday, Manchin praised Williams for his life-long service and remembered the WWII hero as one who “never quit giving back,” The Associated Press reported. Williams’ charity organization, Woody Williams Foundation, was established to honor and support Gold Star Families.
Manchin also said that he will miss phone calls with Williams, who wasn’t afraid to give the senator advice on matters of public policy.
“I’ll miss him telling me how I’m supposed to vote. And when I didn’t, how I made a mistake,” Manchin said.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice posted video from the memorial service on Twitter.
“Please join me in watching today’s State Memorial Service in honor of the distinguished life of Herschel “Woody” Williams — West Virginia native and America’s last World War II Medal of Honor recipient. WATCH,” he tweeted.
The AP reported while Manchin said Williams would lie in state at the Capitol, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he would lie in honor. According to the Architect of the Capitol, government officials and military officers lie in state, whereas private citizens lie in honor.