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A planned museum and monument will salute Medal of Honor recipients

US Army

Advocates for recipients of the national Medal of Honor are raising awareness for plans to build a Medal of Honor Museum in Texas and a Medal of Honor monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. 

As the nation prepares to mark Veterans Day, former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton joined forces in a public service announcement to salute Medal of Honor recipients during the "Salute to Service" National Football League game last Sunday.

Currently, there are 66 living recipients of the medal, the military's highest award for valor in combat.

Chris Cassidy, CEO of the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation, a retired U.S. Navy SEAL and NASA astronaut, said the Arlington, Texas, institution where they plan to break ground next year, will chronicle the valor of medal recipients.

"The core values of the medal, courage, integrity, patriotism, sacrifice, are really what we want to highlight in the museum," Cassidy, explained. "The museum will be a museum of stories, not just memorabilia, but who are those people? What makes them up? Why would they make those decisions to take those actions?"

In addition to the museum, there are also plans to build a monument to Medal of Honor recipients on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. That project is awaiting final approval in Congress.

The monument will be built with private funds and be placed among the other memorials to American war veterans throughout the capital.

Rep. Blake Moore, R-Utah, is a co-sponsor of the bill to build the monument and said time is of the essence.

"We had four Medal of Honor recipients pass away just last year," Moore noted. "Many of them are in their twilight years. We need to celebrate this, and we need to show how their courage has meant so much to so many. We need to get this done as soon as possible."

Of the 40 million military service members who have served since the award was created in 1861 during the Civil War, there have been only 3,500 recipients.