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Thanksgiving Road Trip

The following is the fourth in a series relating to the Medal of Honor.

Thanksgiving, with millions of Americans on the road, is one of the busiest travel seasons of the year.  If you’re doing the traveling this year, I implore you to try a new travel game: find the Medal of Honor landmarks/monuments across America, and the recipients from each state that they honor.  While the Medal of Honor recipients are a small, distinguished group, they are diverse as well.  There are 19 double recipients, one woman, one president, an 11-year-old, a 62-year-old and at least one representative from each of the 50 states.

Here are a few Medal of Honor landmarks/monuments from different states, and a few of the recipients they honor to get you started:

Oregon –Oregon Medal of Honor Highway consists of 451 miles of Highway 20 recently dedicated to the Oregonian Medal of Honor recipients, who served during eight major wars, spanning over 108 years,  from the Civil War to the Vietnam War, in 10 different countries.  One such veteran is the nation’s oldest living Medal of Honor recipient: Bend, Oregon resident Robert D. Maxwell.  Maxwell served in the Army as a telephone lineman and switchboard operator in World War II.  When an incoming German grenade landed between three of his comrades, he didn’t hesitate. Throwing himself on the grenade, he was severely injured, but saved the lives of the other three.  You can hear Maxwell describe the event that earned him his Medal of Honor and many more harrowing experiences from his time in Italy, France and North Africa here.

Robert Dale Maxwell (screenshot from video). Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, AFC2001/001/89733.

Texas – South of Houston lays the small town of Angleton, Texas – home to the Brazoria County Courthouse. There, you might discover a life-size bronze sculpture of Army Combat Medic and Medal of Honor recipient Sp5c Clarence E. Sasser, which honors his acts of bravery during the Vietnam War.  On January 10, 1968, Sasser, critically injured, moved from wounded soldier to wounded soldier for hours on end in a fierce firefight in the Mekong Delta, South Vietnam. The Medal of Honor was presented to him by President Nixon on March 7, 1969. Towards the end of his interview, Sasser encourages children to always do the right thing, and discusses the heavy implications that the Medal of Honor has, insisting that he would rather not bring up memories from the past, but feels it is important for him to share his experience, and set a good example for the youth of today.

Clarence E. Sasser (screenshot from video). Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, AFC2001/001/89777.

Indiana – Along the north bank of the Indiana Central Canal and adjacent to Military Park, you may just spot the blue-green sheen from the 27 curved glass walls that pay tribute to the 3,456 Medal of Honor recipients representing 15 different conflicts. Over 74 Hoosiers have been decorated with the Congressional Medal of Honor since its inception during the Civil War.  Anderson, IN native and World War II veteran Private First Class Melvin Earl Biddle led an offensive near Soy, Belgium in December 1944, when he single-handedly took out several snipers and multiple machine-gun positions, allowing the allies to advance into the town. For his actions in this 20-hour offensive, Biddle was awarded the Medal of Honor on October 12, 1945. When President Truman placed the medal around his neck at the White House, he whispered to Biddle,

People don’t believe me when I tell them that I’d rather have one of these than be President.

Melvin Earl Biddle (screenshot from video). Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, AFC/2001/01/89628.

No matter where this upcoming holiday takes you, please do take a moment to remember those who sacrificed in order to safeguard our liberties, and protect their comrades.

Be sure to check out “Stories Above and Beyond,” our online portal to Medal of Honor collections, and keep checking this space for additional blog posts relating to the Medal of Honor.


Stories Above and Beyond: The Medal of Honor

This is the second blog post in a series relating to the Medal of Honor. Today, in advance of Veterans Day, the Veterans History Project (VHP) debuts a new online portal built to share the stories of Medal of Honor recipients in our collection. Through this feature, entitled “Stories Above and Beyond,” we offer access […]

What is a Veteran?

The following is a guest blog post by Kerry Ward, Liaison Specialist for the Veterans History Project (VHP). As this Veterans Day approaches, I find myself really pondering the word “veteran,” and all it encompasses. If you ask most people to describe what they visualize as “veteran” comes up, chances are many will envision a white-haired, Caucasian […]

Happy Birthday to our U.S. Navy!

The following is a guest blog post by Kerry Ward, a liaison specialist for the Veterans History Project (VHP). Predating even the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Navy was commissioned in 1775 by the Continental Congress.  Starting with a small anti-piracy force with two ships [i], the U.S. Navy now is the largest navy in […]

Hispanic American Heritage Month

The following is a guest blog post by Andrew Huber, Liaison Specialist for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP). As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month through October 15, VHP continues to recognize the contributions of Hispanics and Latinos throughout the military history of our country. Hispanic and Latino Americans have fought in every […]

Honored and Blessed: My Summer Spent with Arkansas Veterans

The following is a guest post by Victoria Anderson, a summer intern in Sen. John Boozman’s (AR) Little Rock office. History may seem like a row of dusty old books sitting on a shelf, something people pass over because it looks boring, but I want to remind everyone that it is not. History is living […]

Riddles of Life

The following is a guest blog post co-authored by Rachel Nave McCubbin and her sisters, Lynne Cosby and Patience Fort, who recently traveled from Kentucky and Pennsylvania to the Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP) to ceremoniously donate their father’s World War II collection. The veteran’s online record will be made accessible on VHP’s […]

VHP: Missing The Stories

The following is a guest blog post by Hope O’Keeffe, an attorney in the Library’s Office of General Counsel, and an ardent supporter of the Veterans History Project (VHP). I come from a long line of heroes. They may be gone, but their stories linger and echo. My grandfather, John McLaughlin, never told us war […]

Recognizing the Service of Asian Pacific American Veterans

The following is a guest blog post by Andrew Huber, Liaison Specialist for the Veterans History Project (VHP). Throughout the month of May, we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage, and remember the contributions made by people of Asian Pacific descent. Those contributions are numerous, from Duke Kahanamoku, who brought the sport of surfing […]

The Story of “The Century:” My Afternoon with World War II Veteran Burton Schuman

The following is a guest blog post by Owen Rogers, Liaison Specialist for the Veterans History Project (VHP). Although I’ll proudly wear the title of “record nerd,” I don’t focus on fidelity; rather tethered memories of shows, bands and the building anticipation of a long drive into the city. This past unseasonably cold weekend saw […]