The 4th of July weekend is a time to stop, refresh and reflect on the freedoms our nation enjoys. It is also a time to recognize the service and sacrifice of our military members who have preserved our freedoms for over 240 years.
Speaking of which, we must recognize one special veteran today. Hershel "Woody" Williams, America's last surviving World War II veteran to have received the Medal of Honor, passed away early this past Wednesday, surrounded by family.
"Friends and family of Woody Williams knew him as a West Virginia farmer's son and the youngest of 11 children who dutifully supported his family after his father died," the Congressional Medal of Honor Society said in a statement. "Fellow Marines knew him as the corporal who volunteered for a mission on Iwo Jima to clear a lane through enemy pillboxes that were destroying American tanks."
Williams credited the Medal of Honor for changing his life. “It gave me an appreciation of life that I didn't have before,” Williams once said. “How very valuable it is and how very quickly you can lose it."
I met Woody several times while serving on the Medal of Honor Foundation Board. He was a wonderfully warm and caring man and 98 years young. A great American.