Congress is giving its final remaining salute Thursday to Hershel W. “Woody” Williams, a hero of the battle for Iwo Jima who was the final remaining Medal of Honor recipient from World War II.
Williams, who died in June at age 98, is mendacity in honor within the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, a tribute reserved for the nation’s most distinguished non-public residents. Only six others have acquired the consideration: civil rights icon Rosa Parks, the Rev. Billy Graham and 4 Capitol cops.
Just 21, Williams was a Marine corporal when U.S. forces got here ashore on the strategic Japanese island in early 1945.
Williams moved forward of his unit and eradicated a sequence of Japanese machine gun positions. Facing small-arms fireplace, he fought for 4 hours, repeatedly returning to organize demolition fees and procure flamethrowers. President Harry Truman awarded him the Medal of Honor, the army’s highest ornament, later that 12 months.
But the brand new tribute to Williams is about greater than his bravery in fight service. It serves as recognition for a era of heroes, now dwindling in numbers, who fought in World War II.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy mentioned Williams wished to lie in honor as a solution to acknowledge each Medal of Honor recipient from that battle.
Lawmakers have lauded Williams all through the week, marveling that he was so younger throughout his actions at Iwo Jima, Japan. They have hailed his public service following his army profession, which included establishing a basis that works with native stakeholders to create monuments for Gold Star households of the fallen all through the nation.
Williams was well-known in his native West Virginia. In 2018, a Huntington, Virginia, medical heart was renamed in his honor, and the Navy commissioned a cellular base sea vessel in his identify in 2020.
The state’s two senators took the Senate ground Wednesday to recollect him.
Democrat Joe Manchin referred to as him the “biggest of the best era.” Republican Shelley Moore Capito recalled his humility, saying that when Truman introduced him with the Medal of Honor, Williams remembered asking himself why he was chosen for the nation’s highest army honor when Marines proper beside him didn’t make it dwelling.
“That exhibits you the form of man that Woody Williams was, at all times placing his nation and his comrades first and by no means involved with who acquired the credit score,” Capito mentioned.