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.


James County Historical Society Meeting is August 3

The James County Historical Society will meet Sunday, August 3, at 2:30pm in the Ooltewah Methodist Church in the Sunday School addition.   The program will be presented by Larry Williams; its topic will be the “The Re-birth of a Model T Ford”.  The program will relate to old cars and to roads of the Old Jim County era. If you use email, please send your email address ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Genealogical Society Meeting is August 5

The Signal Mountain Genealogical Society will meet at the Walden Town Hall, 1836 Taft Highway, on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 1:00 pm. Refreshments will be served, followed by a short business meeting and program.   The speaker for the meeting will be  Jim Dodson who will deliver a presentation entitled,  "Letters from Mississippi  1860 - 1868. ”   ... (click for more)

Harr Outlines $40 Million Plan For Chattanooga Light Rail System

Outgoing Chamber of Commerce President Ron Harr on Monday outlined a $40 million plan for a Chattanooga light rail system that would serve not only downtown, but also the Airport and the Enterprise South Industrial Park. In a speech to the Chattanooga Engineers Club, Mr. Harr said most cities looking at such an ambitious plan "would be facing costs of over a billion dollars." ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Choo Choo Adding Clubs, Restaurants In $8 Million Renovation

The historic Chattanooga Choo Choo is adding clubs and restaurants in a $7 million renovation, it was announced in front of the South Market Street landmark on Monday morning. The Comedy Catch will be moving from its longtime home in Brainerd and there will be a new 500-person music venue that will be in addition to Track 29. The new venue, managed by Track 29, will feature a ... (click for more)

Senator Bob Corker: An Open Letter To Tennesseans

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a state in which companies worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence. Many attribute it to our pro-business culture, well-prepared workforce, low tax environment, right-to-work policies, and engaged citizenry.  That is why the announcement by Volkswagen to build its midsize sports utility vehicle and establish the South’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Our’ American Minute

William J. Federer is one of the leading historians in the United States and every morning I am among thousands of people who get an entertaining email from him called the “American Minute.” I adore it because Bill takes a significant event in American history that happened long ago – but he remembers on the very anniversary of when it occurred. A great example is that last Thursday ... (click for more)