On a hilltop in Arlington National Cemetery, servicemen from our nation’s wars, whose names we don’t know but whose service and sacrifice we will always remember, have found their final resting place in the Tomb of the Unknowns.
It’s fitting that these courageous Americans, who represent all who have worn the cloth of our great country, received our nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor. In addition to these unknown heroes, for many of us Medal of Honor recipients, and for many veterans, Arlington National Cemetery evokes specific memories of incredible people we served with and long-ago battles we fought.
There are 71 living recipients of the Medal of Honor, and this week, 31 of my brothers are in our nation’s capital to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day, which falls every year on March 25. While they lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns and render salutes as a lone bugler plays “Taps,” all of us, no matter where we are, will be paying our respects to the men and women who have served our great nation in uniform.
To a man, the privilege and burden of wearing the Medal of Honor is our opportunity to represent the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who have served, fought, and in some cases sacrificed their lives to preserve America’s liberty. All 71 of us have witnessed firsthand the ravages of the battlefield.
We all have one thing in common: We fought side-by-side with Americans from all walks of life. We wear our medals for all of them, and especially for those who didn’t come home.
As Medal of Honor recipients, we have the opportunity to travel around the country and meet patriotic Americans striving every day to improve their communities and our nation. We understand you don’t have to wear a uniform for service or sacrifice.
That’s why in 2008, we created the Citizen Honors Awards to recognize everyday Americans for their extraordinary acts of courage and selfless service. And that’s why we’ve made Citizen Honors a significant part of our National Medal of Honor Day commemoration.
Individually, the stories of these heroic and selfless Americans are amazing and inspiring. Collectively, they’re an example for all of us to emulate. The 2018 recipients are no exception.
Robert Engle subdued a gunman in a Tennessee church and prevented further loss of life. Matthew Cobos shielded and provided lifesaving medical treatment to concertgoers injured in the mass shooting at the Route 91 Music Festival in Las Vegas. Kimberly Scofi selflessly serves veterans in Georgia through her United Military Care organization, providing them with immediate access to food and housing.