Today U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) urged President Trump to award Hershel “Woody” Williams, Marine Veteran, West Virginia native, and Medal of Honor recipient, the Medal of Freedom for his incredible work through the Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation advocating for Gold Star families while educating and inspiring many generations of young Americans.

The Senators said in part, “We are honored to write to you on behalf of all generations of patriotic Americans to recommend Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This great distinction is reserved for Americans who have made an especially meritorious contribution to the United States. We believe Woody Williams, who has dedicated his entire life to service to our country, is eminently deserving of this honor. The example that he set during and after the military is truly deserving of our nation’s highest civilian honor.”

“We have the distinct honor of being led as a family and as a foundation by a true servant leader, Woody Williams. Even now at 96 years young, he continues to make service to others his mission and purpose in life. His commitment to bettering the lives of his fellow Americans exemplifies the true spirit of our Nation and serves as an example to all of us. We are so grateful to those who support bestowing such a tremendous honor upon Woody, it is truly well-deserved. He is our patriarch, our friend, and our hero,” said Chad Graham, President and CEO of the Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation and Grandson of Woody Williams.

“Hats off to the Senators from the great states of West Virginia and Mississippi for their outstanding efforts and initiative to have Woody Williams considered for the Presidential Medal of Freedom to recognize his 75 years of selfless service. Thank you also to the Marine Corps Veterans Association for their help and support along with Marines Top Hazlett (Ret), Mike Francis (Ret), and Clifton Addison of Mississippi,” said Bernie Lyons, Marine Corps Veterans advocate and Vienna, West Virginia native.

The letter can be read in full below or viewed here.

Dear President Trump,

We are honored to write to you on behalf of all generations of patriotic Americans to recommend Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams for the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  This great distinction is reserved for Americans who have made an especially meritorious contribution to the United States.  We believe Woody Williams, who has dedicated his entire life to service to our country, is eminently deserving of this honor.  The example that he set during and after the military is truly deserving of our nation’s highest civilian honor.

Woody Williams is one of only two remaining Medal of Honor recipients from World War II.  As a young Marine in the 21st Marines, 3d Marine Division, Woody’s heroic act of storming four enemy pillboxes under tremendous fire, and continuing to fight through the entire five-week campaign on Iwo Jima earned him the Medal of Honor.  His stories of service during and after the military have inspired future generations to serve our country and underscore why we call his generation the “Greatest Generation.”

Like many of the Greatest Generation, Woody came home from war to West Virginia and dedicated the rest of his life to service to others.  For the last 75 years, Woody has committed himself to Veterans and their families and created the Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation.  Through his foundation, Woody advocates for and recognizes the sacrifice of Gold Star families who have lost loved ones in the military.  To date, Woody and his foundation are responsible for establishing 60 Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments across the United States with more than 70 additional monuments underway in nearly every state.

Woody’s unending energy and passion have been an inspiration to generations of young Americans across the country.  He has spoken to numerous schools, universities, community events, and Veterans receptions promoting patriotism and the ideals of service above self.  The West Virginia Legislature included Woody in the West Virginia Hall of Fame and named him a Distinguished West Virginian in 1980 and in 2013.

These achievements and many more illustrate a legacy that warrants recognition at the highest level. We sincerely appreciate your consideration of Woody Williams’ legacy.

Press Release

5/28/2020