2023 Medal of Honor Convention
The 2023 Medal of Honor Medal of Honor Convention has come to a close, and we are reflecting on the many opportunities the Medal of Honor Recipients had to connect…
2023 has been an exciting year for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. From advancements for our Museum and programs to successful events allowing Recipients to connect with individuals in communities across the country, we are proud of what we have been able to accomplish. And as always, we are grateful for the Mission Partners and Supporters who helped us accomplish our goals this year. Continued support in 2024 will allow us to perpetuate the legacy of the Medal of Honor and its Recipients.
Chartered by Congress in 1958, the Society’s membership consists exclusively of those individuals who have received the Medal of Honor. This year, we proudly welcomed two new members to our organization:
Additionally, we were sad to announce the passing of Medal of Honor Recipient Frank Herda on October 13, 2023. Recipient Herda was awarded the Medal for actions during the Vietnam War. You can read more about his life here. Sharing the stories of Recipients is a core part of the Society’s mission, and we are grateful for the chance to perpetuate the legacies of the Recipients who are no longer with us.
Many of the 65 living Recipients of the Medal of Honor spent time this year traveling and connecting with the public to share their stories and the lessons they have learned. The Society partnered with the National Medal of Honor Leadership & Education Center to present three panels: Mike Thornton and Ryan Pitts spoke at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina; Tom Kelley and Ryan Pitts spoke in Boston ahead of the Army-Navy game; and Leroy Petry and Kyle Carpenter spoke to students at the University of South Carolina. The Citadel also hosted David Bellavia to speak to cadets for Leadership Day this fall. At these and many more events, the Medal of Honor Recipients enjoyed the chance share their stories about the values of courage, commitment, sacrifice, integrity, citizenship, and patriotism matter.
Medal of Honor Day
Medal of Honor Day, held annually in March 25, was established by Congress in 1990 to “foster public appreciation and recognition of Medal of Honor recipients.” This year, the Recipients marked Medal of Honor Day in a variety of ways, including:
Medal of Honor Museum and Archives
The Society’s Museum and Archives are a key part of our mission. On September 12, 2023, the Society’s Medal of Honor Museum was closed to the public to begin work on a $3 million transformation. Sponsored by the National Medal of Honor Leadership & Education Center, this renovation will showcase the stories of our nation’s heroes, Medal of Honor Recipients. A grand opening of the re-imagined space is planned for late Spring 2024. Learn more about the project here.
In addition to the physical museum, the Society shares the stories of Recipients through our extensive video library. In 2023, the Society added several videos to that library. The Courage of the Submariner features the stories of Medal of Honor Recipients Eugene Fluckey and Richard O’Kane and highlights the dangerous missions carried out by Submariners during the Pacific Campaign of WWII. The newly launched video about the life of Medal of Honor Recipient Freddy Gonzalez, spotlighting interviews with his mother and friends, has been viewed nearly 200,000 times.
Medal of Honor Character Development Program
2023 was a full year for the Medal of Honor Character Development Program and the Education team. In February, the Character Development Program partnered with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library to host our annual forum. You can view that recording here or find out more information on the 2024 event here. Also this year as part of the Character Development Program’s outreach, Britt Slabinski spoke at Notre Dame’s Leadership Weekend, Jim McCloughan spoke at Michigan Boys State, David Bellavia spoke at the Medal of Honor Forum at the First Division Museum at Cantigny, and Recipients visited schools across New Orleans during the Medal of Honor Convention.
This year, the Education team also had the unique opportunity to participate in the BSA (Boy Scouts of America) World Jamboree, working with Scouts from across the country who joined our team in West Virginia to learn more about the Medal of Honor and its Recipients.
In 2023, the Education team held 13 trainings, including its first international training, partnering with DoDEA to host a training in Okinawa, Japan. As of the end of 2023, the Medal of Honor Character Development Program has trained a total of 19,348 teachers through 434 in-person trainings and an online portal.
Medal of Honor Convention
In late October, the Recipients traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana, for the 2023 Medal of Honor Convention, held in partnership with the National WWII Museum. As part of the activities, the Society hosted the 2023 Patriot Award Gala, honoring Paul Hilliard, Tom Hanks, Robin Roberts, and Wendell Pierce for their life’s work promoting the values of the United States and the Medal of Honor.
During the 2023 Convention, the Society also elected new leadership. The Society’s new Board of Directors is looking forward to leading the organization in the coming years.
Coming in 2024
Thank you for taking a moment to reflect on 2023 with us. We are looking forward to what 2024 will bring. Stay tuned for videos featuring the stories of Medal of Honor Recipients, the 2024 Citizen Honors awardees, the grand reopening of the Medal of Honor Museum, and exciting new resources from the Medal of Honor Character Development Program.
To support the important work we have planned for 2024, consider making a year-end donation to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
We look forward to staying connected with you in the new year!
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About the Congressional Medal of Honor Society
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Medal of Honor and its Recipients, inspiring Americans, and supporting the Recipients as they connect with communities across the country.
Chartered by Congress in 1958, its membership consists exclusively of those individuals who have received the Medal of Honor. There are 65 living Recipients.
The Society carries out its mission through outreach, education, and preservation programs, including the Medal of Honor Museum, Medal of Honor Outreach Programs, the Medal of Honor Character Development Program, and the Medal of Honor Citizen Honors Awards for Valor and Service. The Society’s programs and operations are funded by donations.
As part of Public Law 106-83, the Medal of the Honor Memorial Act, the Medal of Honor Museum, which is co-located with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s headquarters on board the U.S.S. Yorktown at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, was designated as one of three national Medal of Honor sites.
Learn more about the Medal of Honor and the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s initiatives at cmohs.org.