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Medal of Honor recipients in DC as museum, monument move forward

Eric Tegethoff

(Washington News Service) This month marks 160 years since the first Medal of Honor was awarded by President Abraham Lincoln. More than a dozen of the 65 recipients alive today are in Washington D.C. to discuss a planned Medal of Honor museum in Texas and monument in the nation's capital. 

Patrick Brady, a Seattle native and retired army general received the medal for his service piloting an ambulance helicopter in the Vietnam War, rescuing U.S. and Vietnamese soldiers wounded in battle. 

He was in Washington, D.C. this week advocating for a Medal of Honor monument.

"The purpose is not so much to glorify those who have received the medal, but rather to emphasize the values that are embedded in the medal: courage, sacrifice, patriotism - which, of course, are the pillars of American excellence," he said.

Brady said he and his crew were able to rescue about 5,000 people wounded during the war, including civilians. In 2021, Congress unanimously approved the Medal of Honor museum for Arlington, Texas, and a monument in D.C.

The museum is slated to open late next year. Brady said he and other Medal of Honor recipients tour the country speaking to students about courage, sacrifice and patriotism, but added there is only so much you can convey in a school setting.

"The museum may be the best schoolhouse for values that we have, and so in that museum, we will show not just what these people did in combat, the recipients, but more importantly what they did as civilians," Brady said.

Chris Cassidy, Head of the Medal of Honor Museum and Foundation, said the museum bridges political disconnects.

"There's lots of stuff right now that divide people," Cassidy said. "There's very few things that bring people together. And this project is something that unites people. And that's why we're so proud to be part of it."

In 160 years, fewer than 3,600 people have received the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for valor in combat.