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MO Medal of Honor Recipient Spotlights New Museum

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Thursday, November 11, 2021   

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Americans from former presidents to friends and family of military service members are marking today's Veterans Day holiday by spotlighting the contributions of Medal of Honor recipients.

Currently, there are 66 living recipients of the honor, 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, and others are raising awareness about a museum, set to break ground next year.

"The truth of the matter is that we have 66 living, and that number is getting smaller with each year, just by nature of their age, and so now's the time to build it," Cassidy contended.

Missouri is the birthplace of two living recipients.

Donald Everett Ballard, retired U.S. Navy hospital corpsman who goes by "Doc," and retired Air Force Captain James Philip Fleming, both earned their medals during the Vietnam War.

Ballard earned his medal for delivering medical aid under fire by the North Vietnamese Army to his fellow Marines. He said the museum is going to represent all veterans.

"It fosters and perpetuates the legacy of the Medal of Honor itself, and demonstrates the sacrifices that all the veterans have paid in order for us to have the freedom that we enjoy today," Ballard explained.

Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama joined forces to make a public-service announcement about the museum during the recent "Salute to Service" National Football League game between the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos. Obama stressed just how special the Medal of Honor is.

"Of the estimated 40 million people who have served in the U.S. military since the Civil War, fewer than 4,000 have received the honor," Obama stated.

The Foundation also is advocating for a national monument dedicated to the recipients of the medal in Washington, D.C. It has been unanimously approved by the U.S. House and is now up to the Senate.


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