Last WWII Medal of Honor recipient lies in honor in the US Capitol
U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Hershel “Woody” Williams spent his lifetime serving the nation and helping Gold Star families.
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The last WWII Medal of Honor recipient, U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Hershel “Woody” Williams, laid in honor in the nation’s capitol.
Williams, who served in Iwo Jima, was one of 473 men who received the Congressional Medal of Honor following WWII. Nearly 16 million men and women served during that war. He died on June 29, 2022.
Williams is credited with destroying seven Japanese pillboxes with a flamethrower as marines raised the flag over Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima.
Following his service the nonprofit organization, the Woody Williams Foundation, was created to establish scholarships for Gold Star Children and permanent Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments in communities throughout the United States.
“We have lost a deeply selfless American and a vital link to our nation’s greatest generation,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) added, “The thing that drew a farm boy from West Virginia to a lifetime of patriotic service could best be described as a gravitational pull.”
Nonprofit organization State Funeral for World War II Veterans started their work to secure the honor nearly 5 years ago. At that time, four WWII Medal of Honor recipients were still living.
Rep. Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.) reflected on his memory of Williams. He told the Washington News Bureau, “I had the opportunity to sit with him in a church service a few years ago and, you know, just see him participate and advocate for veterans. I know I saw him at a parade once. I made sure my children went up and shook his hand because it’s not often you get to meet a.. Medal of Honor winner, Congressional Medal of Honor winner. So it was just an honor to be around him at various events and to see his passion for military and for veterans.”
Rep. Carol Miller (R-W. Va.), who knew Williams well, said “We’re going to miss him. I mean, Woody Woody was because he was the local boy.... We’d see him at the park. We’d see him around. And, he was our hero, as I said, as well as our nation’s hero. And he was a fine man. And we will miss him dearly.”
Texas junior high school student Rabel McNutt is credited with coming up with the idea for a State Funeral for the last Medal of Honor hero from World War II. Her Godfather, Walter ‘Walt’ Ehlers who served in Normandy, was a Medal of Honor recipient.
Only around 300,000 WWII veterans of the nearly 16 million of those who served are still living today.
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