By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, March 24, 2017 — A third of the nation’s living Medal of Honor recipients gathered at the White House today to commemorate Medal of Honor Day with President Donald J. Trump.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also attended the ceremony, conducted in the Oval Office, which the president called a great tribute to everyone and a great tribute to the nation.
“Each of you has risen above and beyond the call of duty in defense of our country, our people, and our flag,” Trump told them. “You have poured out your hearts, your sweat and your tears like few others, and your blood — most importantly your blood — for the United States of America. We thank you, very much thank you.”
Soul of the Nation
Trump said the Medal of Honor recipients are “the soul of our nation, and a grateful republic salutes you. Constantly we’re saluting you. We have great admiration and respect, believe me, I know what you’ve been through.”
America writes the recipients’ names and deeds in its national memory, and will forever remember those who did not come home, but who died for the cause of freedom, he said.
The Land of Heroes
“In this room hangs the portrait of our 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his courage alongside his band of Rough Riders at the Battle of San Juan Hill. … His medal, which is also displayed here, is a reminder of how blessed we truly are to live in the land of heroes. And you are our greatest heroes,” Trump told the Medal of Honor recipients.
“To all of those gathered here today, and to all of those warriors who could not be with us, we thank you. Your acts of valor inspire us — and they show us that there is always someone on the night watch to ensure a bright sun rises on America each and every morning,” he said.