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.


Chattanooga's Blues and Jazz Heritage Program is Monday, August 25

The Chattanooga Area Historical Association and the Local History Department of the Public Library invites all to a talk by Dr. Clark White on "Chattanooga's Blues and Jazz Heritage."  The program will be on Monday, August 25th at 6pm at the downtown Chattanooga Public Library. See the accompanying flyer for more information. CAHA events are free and open to the ... (click for more)

Five Tennessee Sites Added to the National Register of Historic Places

The Tennessee Historical Commission has announced five Tennessee sites have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. It is part of a nationwide program that coordinates and supports efforts to identify, evaluate and protect historic resources. The ... (click for more)

Bradley, 24, Charged In Death Of 3-Year-Old Boy At Soddy Daisy

Justin Dale Bradley has been charged with criminal homicide in the death of a three-year-old child, who was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday and later died. Authorities said Bradley, 24, is the boyfriend of the child's mother. The mother earlier took out an order of protection against Bradley, and he was arrested for violating the order. The Hamilton County Sheriff’s ... (click for more)

Shooting Of 15-Year-Old Began As Argument Between Teens

According to police, the Tuesday night shooting of a juvenile on Taylor Street started as an argument between the two young men. Terry Marshell Smith Jr., 19, was arrested the following day. Police said the former Hixson High School student shot the juvenile in the shoulder after their argument and then fled the scene.  According to police, Smith admitted to the shooting. ... (click for more)

Better Plan For Walnut Street Hotel

Mitch Patel and his Vision Hospitality Group have unveiled a revised plan for a hotel on Walnut Street. It is much better than the one proposed two years ago. By having no curb cuts on Walnut Street, it makes that special block near the bridge more inviting and safer for pedestrians. Deliveries would be off Riverfront Parkway and hotel access (valet parking) would be off Aquarium ... (click for more)

Thanks For Making The Southern Brewers Festival A Success

Now that the dust has settled I'd like to thank Chattanooga for supporting the Southern Brewers Festival and making it yet another very successful event.    For those who do not know - the SBF benefits the Chattanooga chapter of Kids on the Block and the Chattanooga Community Kitchen.  As a partner helping the SBF with volunteers, sponsorships and the overall production ... (click for more)