Woody Williams to lie in state at U.S. Capitol
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – America’s last WWII Medal of Honor recipient Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced Sunday,
During a memorial service for Williams at the West Virginia Culture Center in Charleston, Sen. Manchin said one of Williams’ wishes was for ‘those who served in the greatest generation and WWII Medal of Honor recipients’ to be honored at the nation’s Capitol.
Manchin said Williams requested the last WWII Medal of Honor recipient lie in state at the U.S. Capitol to honor the ‘greatest generation.’
“Now that’s not an easy feat,” said Sen. Manchin. “Well, since last Sunday Shelley (Sen, Shelley Moore Capito) and I have been on the phone. I found Nancy (House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) in Europe yesterday and we had a nice, long conversation and this is a really, really tough situation to get to lie in state. There’s so much requests for that. But, I wanted to announce today, that I got a phone call at 11 this morning that our friend is going to lie in state at the national Capitol.”
Manchin’s announcement received a standing ovation from those there honoring Williams’ legacy at the Culture Center.
Manchin said the tribute for Williams would most likely be held the second week of July.
Sen. Manchin released the following statement Sunday:
“Last week we lost Woody Williams, a great American hero and the last surviving World War II Medal of Honor recipient. Governor Justice and his team hosted a beautiful celebration of Woody’s life that was worthy of the tremendous legacy Woody leaves behind and allowed our fellow Mountaineers to honor Woody,” Senator Manchin said. “One of Woody’s last wishes was to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol, not for himself, but to represent all World War II Medal of Honor recipients. Senator Capito and I are proud to announce that we have secured a commitment for the last of the Greatest Generation, Woody Williams of Quiet Dell, to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol in the coming weeks. We are grateful to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for their bipartisan work to make this happen. This recognition is the best way to honor the sacrifices Woody and all of his fellow servicemen and women made for our great nation, and I know that Woody is smiling down on us as we honor his last wish.”
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) released the following statement Sunday:
“Having the last WWII Medal of Honor recipient lie in state in the U.S. Capitol reflects the respect and gratitude we owe to an entire generation of veterans who have given so much to our country,” Senator Capito said. “Woody’s tremendous display of bravery and acts of valor on the battlefield earned him the Medal of Honor, and it’s for these reasons that he deserves this tremendous honor, which will also honor the millions of men and women who have risked their lives during the war so we can enjoy the freedoms we have today. While we have lost one of the best West Virginians we’ve ever known, his lifetime of service and incredible legacy will be with us forever.”
Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV) released the following statement Sunday:
“Woody Williams dedicated his life to the service of our nation,” said Congresswoman Miller. “Even this final honor, to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol, was something Woody wanted for his fellow World War II Medal of Honor recipients and not himself. Tireless commitment to his fellow veterans and countrymen embodies the very person Woody Williams was, and this recognition will honor not just Woody but all World War II Medal of Honor recipients. I’m thankful to join with Senators Capito and Manchin and Congressmen Mooney and McKinley as we fulfill a wish of Woody’s years in the making, laying in state the final World War II Medal of Honor recipient to represent a generation of service.”
Williams passed away Wednesday, June 29 at 3:15 a.m. at the VA Medical Center which bears his name.
Woody Williams, who turned 98 on October 2, fought in World War II with the Marine Corps as a flamethrower operator at the battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. His heroic actions there were later honored as he was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman.
Williams was the last surviving World War II veteran to have received the Medal of Honor.
To watch the full memorial service held Sunday for Williams >>> CLICK HERE.
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