Chattanooga Closely Related to Congressional Medal Of Honor

Friday, February 21, 2014

Chattanooga is indelibly connected to the nation’s highest medal, the Congressional Medal of Honor, according to Jim Wade, executive director of the National Medal of Honor Museum of Military History, who was the guest speaker for the February meeting of the Walden Community Guild. The museum is located on Highway 153 inside Northgate Mall. Chattanooga is the appropriate site for the museum, he said, because of its connection to the Medal.

It happened during the Civil War when the Andrews Raiders seized the railroad engine, The General, in Marietta, Ga., and traveled back toward Chattanooga, trying to burn bridges and thwart the Southern cause. When they ran out of fuel and had to abandon the engine above Ringgold, they were captured and imprisoned in Chattanooga. Several were executed, later buried in the Chattanooga National Cemetery, and others in the group were imprisoned and later awarded the first Medal of Honor.

Three men from the Chattanooga area received the medal during World War II, including Charles Coolidge of Signal Mountain, for whom Chattanooga’s Coolidge Park is named. In addition, Desmond Doss was the only conscientious objector in WWII to receive the award and the most unusual recipient, who was connected to Chattanooga, was Mary Walker, She was not only the only woman to receive the Medal but also the only woman to be a Union surgeon during the Civil War, serving in Chattanooga.

The first American medal, the Medal of Valor, was given by George Washington to three men in 1782. There were no other medals until the Civil War when the Navy and Army each issue their own versions and many years later the Air Force. The Medal of Valor in 1932 became the Purple Heart, awarded for the combat wounded. Among other well-known recipients of the Medal of Honor were Arthur McArthur, a young soldier during the battle for Chattanooga, and his son, Douglas McArthur in WWII, and Tennessee’s Alvin York, also in WWII. Over 63 percent of Medals were awarded posthumously.

The mission of the museum, Mr. Wade said, is not only to record the history of the award and the people who received it, but also to educate future generations about these men of valor. Many people, especially younger people, are not aware of the medals, he said, so the mission of the museum is of extreme importance.

The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free. The museum is staffed by volunteers, who are always welcomed, and is funded through volunteer contributions. The museum is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization.

A book is now available, "Paths of Valor," which provides information and photographs about the Medal of Honor and its recipients. The cost of $30 (plus $5 if mailed) all goes to the museum.

For more information, to contribute or to volunteer, the National Medal of Honor Museum of Military History address is P.O. Box 11467, Chattanooga 37401, phone 423-877=2525 or www.mohm.org.


Program on Preserving and Storing Documents at TN State Library May 3

Preserving important family records will be easier than ever for people who attend the next in the Tennessee State Library and Archives' (TSLA) series of workshops. Carol Roberts, conservation manager in TSLA's Preservation Services Section, will host the workshop on basic cleaning, repair and storage techniques people can use to extend the life of important family papers, collections ... (click for more)

Catoosa County Historical Society Meeting April 14

The Catoosa County Historical Society will meet on Monday, April 14, at 7 PM in the Old Stone Church Museum, Ringgold, GA. The speaker, Steve McAllister, who resides in Madisonville, TN, will have a book signing after his presentation on the six primary flags of the Confederacy. The title of his book is  The War for Southern Independence; Truths and Facts That Have Been ... (click for more)

Bus Driver Will Not Face Charges In Tragic Bus Accident

Sergeant Tommy Sturdivan announced in a Friday afternoon press conference that the investigation into the death of six-year-old Zackery Bryant at Chattanooga Valley Elementary has been officially declared complete and that there will be no criminal charges. Zackery died tragically on Monday morning after being hit by a school bus after stepping off. According to Sgt. Sturdivan, ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy May Begin Effort To Allow Wine In Grocery Stores; Concussion Forms Required For Sporting Events; WWTA Chided For Causing Potholes

The Soddy Daisy Commission is considering taking steps to allow wine in grocery stores now that Tennessee lawmakers have voted to lift restrictions. To have the law appear on the next ballot for a vote, Mayor Janice Cagle said a petition with an amount of signatures totaling 10 percent of the number of voters in the last general election will have to be collected. Commissioner ... (click for more)

State Moving Forward In Educational Improvements

The State Collaborative on Reforming Education released the following statement from President and CEO Jamie Woodson regarding the 2014 legislative session in Tennessee and HB1549/SB1835, which passed the General Assembly Thursday: After a year of extensive public and legislative conversation regarding higher academic standards and related strategies to improve student learning, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Nudge By Angel Kilbride

Way above us, high in the heavens, a handsome angel everybody calls Ben yelled to Saint Peter on Thursday and told him, “Better send me a couple of rubies and maybe an amethyst … Dad’s crown just got bigger.” To you such a scenario may sound silly and foolish but Bill Kilbride, a dynamic genius who has just been named as president-elect of Chattanooga’s Chamber of Commerce, knows ... (click for more)