ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - The state will soon have a memorial to honor the 72 Minnesotans who’ve received the Medal of Honor, the military's highest honor. Military and political dignitaries, along with with veterans and their families, attended a groundbreaking ceremony on the State Capitol Grounds Monday evening.
“This memorial will ensure this generation, as well as future generations, will never forget the sacrifice of those who came before us,” said retired Major General Larry Shellito.
The ceremony included several flyovers, including one in “missing man” formation, cannon firing, music and remarks by the president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
“This is very special, today is a big deal,” said retired Captain Thomas Kelley, the society’s president, who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Vietnam War. Kelley said he believes Minnesota is the first state to have a memorial dedicated to its Medal of Honor recipients.
With their medals hanging from their necks, several Medal of Honor recipients said they believe they wear the medals for others, including those whose names were on the nearby war memorials.
“It’s humbling because it’s not yours. It belongs to the guys and girls that didn’t come back. And you’re representing them. And it’s a total honor and a lot of weight,” Robert Patterson, a Medal of Honor recipient, told Fox 9.
“The recipients say we wear the medal for all the brave men and women we swerve with whose actions go unsung because a lot happens in combat. My actions were recognized and I’m humbled by that,” Joe Marm, a Medal of Honor recipient, said.
The Medal of Honor Convention is also being held in Minnesota, the first time the annual convention has been held in this state. 43 of the 77 living Medal of Honor recipients plan to attend the convention, including Minnesota’s only living Medal of Honor recipient. The convention runs from Oct. 4-8.