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.


First Thanksgiving in Chattanooga (Civil War)

By “first Thanksgiving Day”, no, I do not mean the harvest thanksgiving meal which the Separatist colonists of New Plymouth shared uncomfortably with their Wampanoag neighbors.   Nor do I mean any of the thanksgivings proclaimed on a one-time basis by a U.S. President after that.   In this case, the “First Thanksgiving Day” means the inaugural event of those that have ... (click for more)

Chester Martin Remembers Larry V. Myers And His Explorer Scouts

I can't believe that it has been over 40 years since Larry Myers of the Chattanooga Fire Department was active here in Chattanooga. He was a very well-known professional fireman   who also took great interest in our local youth, organizing some of them into a group of re-enactors. I was fortunate to see them in action, especially at Fort Loudoun, where their authentic ... (click for more)

Officer Who Was Shot Returned Fire; Is Recovering Well; Shooter Still On Loose

Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher said Monday morning that the officer who was shot three times on Thursday is recovering well.   Chief Fletcher said the officer was wearing a bullet-proof vest and one bullet hit the vest, which protected him during the shooting.  The officer was able to return fire, although Chief Fletcher would not comment on how many bullets ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Man With 5 Violent Felonies Gets 30 Years In Prison

A Chattanooga man with five violent felonies on his record has been sentenced to serve 30 years in prison. Demetrius Joiner, 30, was given a 20-year sentence by Judge Curtis Collier after he was ruled to be an Armed Career Criminal. Judge Collier said the term would be consecutive to several state sentences imposed earlier on Joiner, including 10 years for aggravated robbery. ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Couldn't Manage Public Education

I have been reading the buzz about Signal Mountain and other small municipalities considering a move to form their own school district within their municipal boundaries.  It is quite the comedy hour considering the notion that small cities that for decades could not even manage small sewer systems or 911 districts, are somehow going to do a better job with public education ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: School Board Can’t Wait

It took the Hamilton County School board nine months before the group hired a search firm to find a new superintendent. But you mark my words – the Department of Education will undoubtedly implode if our leaders wait another nine months simply hoping for some type of mystical salvation. In the last week Signal Mountain leaders have all but given notice they will form their own district ... (click for more)