ST. PETE BEACH, FL – It’s National Medal of Honor Day and, even with social distancing, people still can honor recipients of the nation’s most prestigious military decoration with a ‘moment of honor.’
The National Medal of Honor Museum and Foundation is recognizing the contributions of people such as retired Army Ranger Gary Littrell. The St. Pete Beach resident was awarded his medal for valor in combat after a Vietnamese ranger battalion he was part of in the 1970s came under heavy attack. Mortar fire killed or severely wounded the battalion commanders and other advisers, leaving Littrell in charge to care for the wounded.
“As most of us recipients will say, we receive the medal and we wear the medal, not for us but for the men and women that have died in combat,” Littrell said. “We are their representative.”
The museum is asking all Americans to join together to pay tribute to Medal of Honor recipients with activities and an inaugural “Moment of Honor” from their homes at 3:25 p.m. EDT on this annual Medal of Honor Day.
More than 3,500 medals have been awarded, and about 71 recipients still are living. Joe Daniels, president and chief executive of the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation, said he thinks now is the perfect time to share their stories and show that, when the times require it, the nation always comes together.
“I think that when it comes to this disruption that we’re going through,” he said, “taking a moment and learning about their stories, while we’re all sort of self-quarantined at home, is a perfect thing to do because it reminds us that we’re all in this together.”
Daniels is encouraging people to share their tributes — whether it’s flying flags, making a poster or sharing notes on social media – using the hashtags #MedalofHonorDay or #MomentofHonor. The foundation is building a museum in Arlington, Texas, to serve as a permanent place to honor past and current recipients. It’s slated to open in 2024. More details are online at momentofhonor.org.