After strapping on his flame thrower and taking out an enemy machine gun bunker, he'd run out of gasoline and would back out to get another and another and yet even 4 more. When all was said and done it would seem that he was trying to take out most of the 21,000 Japanese fortified in their 18 miles or more of tunnels all by himself.
The actions went well beyond the normal call of duty and resulted in his men gaining considerable ground. It was not long after that Woody found himself in Washington DC. There his president would drape the Medal of Honor around his neck. He would declare years later that he did not even know what the medal was when on the battlefield, nor had he ever even seen one before arriving at the White House.
The past blogs tell much of this. If you have missed these you should take time to have a look at them. One of these told how Woody, like so many others, had been missing the boat when they so often talked about the Gold Star Mothers. Those who had lost a son or daughter in the military and sacrificing all of their tomorrows so that we could have our todays and so many more tomorrows.
The boats being missed were that the mothers were not alone. As said in an early blog, he was told at one ceremony honoring the Mothers, that Fathers also cried.. And what about the other children` and the greater family of relatives? Soon the message would sink in and hesrtating dedicating much time to the expansion of the Gold Star Mothers into the Gold Star Families.
And rather than just talking, he did something about it.more.
In 2010 he created the Hershel "Woody" Williams Medal of Honor Educational Foundation. This was, and is a national not for profit charitable organization dedicated to many causes. Firstly, in memory of those lost, a wide variety of fund raising events would be used to provide scholarships to qualifying children. Money would be made available to help the family school the children and of course at the same time keep alive the memories of those so dearly loved and lost.
Soon the Gold Star Families Memorial was created, and by 2013 the above memorial was erected at the Veterans Cemetery in Dunbar West Virginia.
Funds were raised to the tune of about $100,000 to build this gorgeous memorial and a pathway up to it. Since then an astounding number of 31 different US States have a similar memorial or in some cases even more than one. Incredibly a total of 39 have been dedicated and another 51 are in progress.
And I do believe Woody has attended everyone of those already dedicated. And he is in his 90's folks!
Every one of them is a duplicate of the one shown above. The cut out represents the lost.. or missing, soldier, sailor, marine, airman or coastguard member gone forever.
While the fronts are all the same, the backs are left to the creativity of the communities. However one of each of the four panels must have a theme for the homeland, family, patriots and sacrifice.
And Woody has not stopped there. He has also recognized that there are few memorials dedicated to the memories of all the Medal of Honor recipients in various parts of the country. Therefore he has decided to raise further funds to create Medal of Honor Walls of Memory.
Many current displays are in areas that the public are generally not allowed to enter. Thus, Woody's plan is to have a Wall of Memory in the veterans facilities were the vets themselves, family and friends visit. In these he wants to see a hallway dedicated to all, or as many as possible, of the MOH recipients that came from that particular area of the country.
If you Google Woody's name you can read much about this hero, and these various foundations. A great utube video re the Gold Star Family Memorials is at.... http://hwwmohf.org/monument-overview.html (Scroll down less than a page and look at video link on the right.)
There is also a great video about his MOH Wall at...
http://hwwmohf.org/wall-of-memory.html (Scoll down to find video link on left.)
Next week I will bring a story about Canada's Silver Cross Families.
hope you will join me then,