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National Medal of Honor Heritage Center Launches New Podcast, Plans to Reopen Memorial Day Weekend

May 18, 2020

Press Releases

“Valorcast” Inspires Listeners to Exemplify Six Core Character Traits Embodied in the Medal of Honor, Public Invited to Visit Heritage Center to Honor Fallen Servicemen and Women This Memorial Day

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — ​​The Charles H. Coolidge ​N​ational Medal of Honor Heritage Center​​ (Heritage Center) is excited to announce today the official launch of a new podcast series that honors the six character traits embodied in the Medal of Honor through the personalized stories from our greatest American heroes. The new podcast series — titled “Valorcast”— is the latest endeavor from the Heritage Center as part of its mission to memorialize the history of our nation’s highest military award for valor and educate the next generation of Americans about the six character traits associated with the gallantry of Medal recipients: Patriotism, Citizenship, Courage, Integrity, Sacrifice and Commitment.

Each episode of “Valorcast” details a lifetime of commitment, sacrifice and heroic acts of valor directly from the Medal of Honor recipients themselves. Their personal stories were recorded during the ​Grand Opening of the new National Medal of Honor Heritage Center​, which is located in the heart of where the heritage of the Medal of Honor started—Chattanooga, Tennessee. Debuting on Wednesday, May 20, the first season of “Valorcast” will feature the courageous and extraordinary stories of Sammy L. Davis, Joe Marm, Matt Williams, Mike Thornton, Pat Brady, Gary Littrel and Gary Beikirch. Every episode follows the inspirational stories that span the last half-century, alongside the many ways these Medal of Honor recipients continue to engage with and influence our youth today.

“The most important thing that we do is not to advertise ourselves, our valor, but rather to advertise and promote the values that are associated with that valor,” said Medal of Honor recipient and First Lieutenant Pat Brady, U.S. Army (Retired).

“Those six character traits are what life—in my opinion—should revolve around,” Medal of Honor recipient and Sergeant First Class Sammy L. Davis, U.S. Army (Retired). “It’s not just in the Medal of Honor character development program. It is what life revolves around, and that’s one of the reasons that the recipients believe in it so much. This is what we’re teaching the young students when we go to schools all over the United States.”

The “Valorcast” podcast series is raw and real, and each shared experience illustrates the courage it takes to rise up and overcome challenges to make the world a better place. More importantly, each episode features a recipient’s story that is relevant to what we do—whether it be on a battlefield, board room or everyday life. Each of these amazing, inspiring and, all too often, heart-breaking stories define the meaning of valor and the virtue of putting service over self.

The very first Medal of Honor was presented to Private Jacob Parrott for his part in the “The Great Locomotive Chase” that ended just outside of Chattanooga on April 12, 1862. Ultimately, 19 of the 24 members of Andrews’ Raiders were awarded the Medal of Honor for their incredible acts of valor on that day. The following 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 made Chattanooga the Birthplace of the Medal of Honor.

Following an exhilarating grand opening celebration, the Heritage Center closed its doors due to public health concerns around the COVID-19 outbreak. Now as the “Valorcast” series releases to the public, the Heritage Center is preparing to reopen to the public on Saturday, May 23rd.

“We are excited to reopen our incredible facility on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend,” said Keith Hardison, executive director of the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center. “It’s important to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and the Heritage Center is the ideal place to have an experience that honors all of America’s heroes, and leaves you feeling inspired knowing that you too have what it takes to face and overcome extreme challenges.”

Hardison continued, “We are taking all necessary precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit. This includes a regular professional cleaning and disinfecting regimen, hand sanitizing stations, staff and volunteers equipped with masks, complimentary masks available for guests who wish to use them, management of social distancing guidelines, and a multi-sensory, touch-less experience when you download our app to your cell phone.”

To show appreciation for the families who have made personal sacrifices during these difficult and unprecedented times, the Heritage Center will offer free admission to children ages 12 and under through July 1, 2020. More information about the public reopening can be found at ​​www.MOHHC.org​,​ and the “Valorcast” podcast will be made available on iTunes and Spotify next week.