Saturday, May 7, 2011

Medal of Honor

Friday was one of those days at work that makes me grateful I serve at Faith. I enjoy variety and Faith provides a lot of variety in ministry. Friday we were honored to host the Medal of Honor Bridge Dedication Ceremony. There was a lot about this I didn’t understand as we were planning for this event. I did know that a UH-1 Huey helicopter was going to be landing in our parking lot with the Medal of Honor recipients and figured I would want to see that. It turned out to be so much more than just a helicopter landing.

What is the Medal of Honor? According to the internet, “The Medal of Honor was established in 1862 and first presented in 1863 during the Civil War. It is the highest military decoration that the United States grants to members of its armed forces for bravery in action at the risk of his or her life, above and beyond the call of duty. It is awarded by the president in the name of Congress. The Army, Navy, and Air Force each have their own designs for the Medal of Honor. Included with the Navy are the Marine Corps and Coast Guard.”

3,475 Medal of Honor awards have been issued and only 85 recipients are alive today. 7 of them were at Faith on Friday, May 6, 2011. Now I was beginning to see the significance of the event.

Aside from the helicopter flying in the Lafayette Fire Department setup a huge American Flag, the Department of Homeland Security provided security sweeps and protection for the guests; there were soldiers, policeman and fireman in uniform all over, schoolchildren, almost all of our elected state and local officials, and a veteran’s motorcycle parade. Saying that flags were everywhere would be an understatement.

All of this to dedicate the first and only bridge in the United States to all Medal of Honor recipients. Most Medal of Honor recipients receive their awards posthumously. Having 7 of them, including the last surviving recipient from WWII dedicate this bridge was impressive. The bridge is north of Lafayette on a new stretch of road called the Hoosier Heartland Corridor. It almost seems as though we didn’t do enough once you hear these guys’ stories.

There aren’t many days you go to work and a helicopter lands in your parking lot, 10% of the surviving Medal of Honor recipients come to visit, and you have a small part in helping make a bit of history.

More information about the Medal of Honor can be found here:
Congressional Medal of Honor Society
Wikipedia entry for Medal of Honor
Local newspaper coverage of the event