May 20, 2019

Manchin, Capito Introduce Resolution Requesting State Funeral For Last Surviving WWII Medal of Honor Recipient

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), introduced a resolution requesting a state funeral for the last surviving World War II Medal of Honor recipient. There are only three living Medal of Honor recipients remaining from WWII, including West Virginia native and Iwo Jima veteran, Woody Williams. This state funeral would not only recognize their individual service and sacrifice, but would act as a final salute to the Greatest Generation and those who wore the uniform from 1941 to 1945. 

A state funeral is our nation’s highest honor bestowed upon a person posthumously. It is a seven to ten day event, consisting of ceremonies and funeral processions in the home state of the Veteran and in Washington D.C., where the honored will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol rotunda. While Congress can authorize the use of the rotunda, in order for the U.S. Military to make the arrangements for a state funeral, the President must call for one. The nation’s oldest Medal of Honor recipient, Bob Maxwell, died in Oregon this week. He was 98.

“This may be our last chance to come together as a country and salute the Greatest Generation with our nation’s highest honor. The women and men, like Woody Williams, who answered the call to service during WWII ensured that our democracy and our way of life prevailed. Their sacrifices and the hardships they have endured allow the rest of us to enjoy the unique freedoms that make this country the best on earth,” said Senator Manchin. “I hope that my colleagues in the Senate will pass this resolution. Let’s get this done before it’s too late.”

“Providing a state funeral for the last surviving WWII Medal of Honor recipient reflects the respect and gratitude we owe to an entire generation of veterans who have given so much to our country,” Senator Capito said. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in cosponsoring this bill that would allow Americans across the country a very special opportunity to pay tribute to the Greatest Generation.”   

“This bill for WWII State Funeral is of utmost importance to West Virginians and Americans alike as we must never forget our national treasures such as Medal of Honor Recipient “Woody” Williams and so many others that saved our country and secured our freedoms. This State Funeral would honor military service, and educate younger generations about the sacrifices of Americans in World War II, while providing a final salute to the greatest generation,” said Brent Casey, Director of the Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation. “The designation of a State Funeral for the last surviving Medal of Honor Recipient by President Trump is urgent. The three living World War II Medal of Honor recipients’ ages are 93, 95, and 97. This solemn, patriotic and unique occasion, would pay tribute to all 16 million men and women from the greatest generation, World War II, and will unify the American people in a nonpartisan, nonpolitical way.” 

“As we approach the 75th anniversary of D-Day, nothing would be more fitting as the passage of this bill out of the US Senate, encouraging the President to designate a single State Funeral for the last surviving Medal of Honor Recipient from World War II. This State Funeral would bring our country together for a final salute to all 16 million men and women from the Greatest generation who wore our nation’s uniform from 1941 to 1945,” said Bill McNutt, Cofounder and Chairman of the State Funeral for World War II Veterans Organization.

“The American Legion, on behalf of more than 16 million veterans of World War II, supports legislation to designate a state funeral for the final Medal of Honor recipient of that war– not for one man, but as a tribute to all who fought for freedom in the world’s greatest hour of need,” said Brett P. Reistad, American Legion National Commander.