Commemorating National Medal of Honor Day
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (March 25, 2021) – Staff and volunteers from the Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center honored seven of our nation’s greatest heroes for National Medal of Honor Day at Chattanooga’s National Cemetery. Taking part in the ceremony were Dir. of Program Support, Steven Thomas, and volunteers Hank Powell, Clint Cavett, Tim Burns, and Jackie Kistling. Medal of Honor recipients buried at National Cemetery are SGT Samuel Slavens (1862), SGT John M. Scott (1862), SGM Marion A. Ross (1862), PVT Samuel Robertson (1862), PVT William F. Zion (1900), CPL Desmond Doss (1945), and MSG Ray E. Duke (1951).
Recognized for the first time in 1991, National Medal of Honor Day is a solemn annual recognition of more than 3,500 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines whose service to our nation has been distinguished through extraordinary heroism and sacrifice. Every March 25th commemorates the six-character trait pillars, courage, sacrifice, patriotism, citizenship, integrity, and commitment embodied by Medal of Honor recipients, and presented at the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center through award-winning exhibits, collections, and education programs that deploy the latest technology for an engaging, interactive experience for visitors of all ages.
The very first Medal of Honor was awarded on March 25th, 1863 to Private Jacob Parrott for his part in the “The Great Locomotive Chase” that ended just outside of Chattanooga. Ultimately, 19 of the 24 members of Andrews’ Raiders were awarded the Medal of Honor for their incredible acts of valor on April 12, 1862.
In that same year, the Chattanooga area would become hallowed ground where 33 additional Medals of Honor were awarded – from the blood-soaked fields of Chickamauga to Missionary Ridge to the stirring site of the Battle Above the Clouds on Lookout Mountain. These acts of valor — also known as the First Medals — created an important heritage that has been entrusted to Chattanooga to preserve as the “Birthplace of the Medal of Honor”.