On Wednesday evening, President Trump welcomed 33 of the 72 living Medal of Honor recipients to the White House for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Reception. The Medal of Honor is the highest U.S. military decoration that can be awarded to a service member and recognizes those who went above and beyond their call of duty with distinct acts of valor during their tenure.
“The Congressional Medal of Honor is the supreme symbol of American courage. It is the ultimate tribute to American valor. You are the strongest, the bravest, and the finest among us,” President Trump stated.
The reception featured the United States Marine Band and prominent members of the administration, including White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly. Several Cabinet members were in attendance as well, including Steve Mnuchin, Ben Carson, and Robert Wilkie. Each recipient tells a different story of heroism and valor. Among those present were:
- Woody Williams, a retired United States Marine Corps warrant officer, who served in World War II and fought heroically in Iwo Jima
- Bruce Crandall, a retired U.S. Army officer, who acted as a pilot at the Battle of Ia Drang during the Vietnam War and conducted 22 missions on an unarmed helicopter into enemy fire
- Hiroshi Miyamura, a retired United States Army soldier, who was a prisoner of war and fought during the Korean War
- Ed Byers, a United States Navy SEAL, rescued a hostage in Afghanistan in hand-in-hand combat
- Sammy Davis, who served in the United States Army, fought during the Vietnam War and now teaches young people about the importance of patriotism
- Ronald Rosser, a former United States Army soldier, who fought during the Korean War and then became a police chief, a construction foreman, and a history teacher
- Leroy Petry, a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, who lost his right arm by attempting to throw a grenade back at a Taliban fighter and ultimately saving two other soldiers from serious injuries
President Trump highlighted the growing respect of veterans compared to past years.
“We’re loving our veterans, I think, honestly, more than ever before. We respect them so much. There’s a whole different spirit over our country.”
Trump invited a past recipient, Drew Dix, to address the crowd. Dix commended the Administration for their efforts to help veterans around the country, especially with addressing suicide rates among veterans.
Trump concluded by affirming his support for those in the Armed Forces and the American flag.
“We will always remain faithful to the heroes of the American Armed Forces. We will forever remain loyal to our beloved veterans. And we will always defend our country, our Constitution, our values, our families, our freedom, our people. And we will always defend our great American flag.”