Tennessee Legislature Calls For President To Provide Last World War II Medal Of Honor Recipient National State Funeral

Friday, July 19, 2019

Both chambers of the Tennessee State Legislature passed a joint resolution calling on the Trump Administration to provide a state funeral in Washington. D.C., for the last remaining World War II Medal of Honor recipient when he passes away.  

In total, 473 Americans received the nation’s highest military honor during the Second World War. Today, only three remain, including Charles Coolidge from Chattanooga. 

This nationwide, bi-partisan initiative was led by the nonprofit State Funeral for World War II Veterans Chairman Lee William (Bill) McNutt and its co-state chairs for Tennessee, Beth and Charlie Sell of Nashville. The resolution was spearheaded through the legislature by Tennessee State Senator Bo Watson, from Hixson, representing District 11. 

"The approximate 400,000 remaining veterans of the Second World War will benefit from a State Funeral in Washington DC for the final MOH recipient from World War II,” said Mr. McNutt.  “This will be a final salute to the greatest generation.” 

Mr. Sell, a successful Nashville businessman, said, “This bill is important to Tennessee. Our state has strong times to the Medal of Honor, given that the first recipients were brave soldiers who fought in the Chattanooga area.” 

"We applaud the Tennessee legislature for passing a resolution in strong support of this unique and original initiative,” said Keith Hardison, CEO of the Chattanooga-based National Medal of Honor Heritage Center. "Our center is dedicated to one of the three remaining MOH recipients from WW II, Charles Coolidge. We strongly endorse the mission and efforts of Mr. McNutt and the State Funeral for World War II Veterans to call for a State Funeral in Washington for the final World War II Medal of Honor holder.”

The State Funeral for World War II Veterans’ nationwide campaign calls for the President of the United States to designate a state funeral for the last Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, as a final salute to the 16 million men and women of the greatest generation who served in the armed forces from 1941 to 1945. The White House holds sole authority to do so and does not require approval from the U.S. Congress to enact. A State Funeral is a seven to 10-day national event and consists of ceremonies within the state where the honoree was in residence.

Ceremonies are within Washington, D.C., and in the state (or at Arlington National Cemetery) where the authorized individual has chosen to be interred.  All funeral arrangements are made by the U.S. Military District of Washington, D.C., and involve Armed Forces honor guards, elite military bands, and/or guns support (source White House.gov website). The last two State Funerals were Ronald Reagan in 2004 and George Bush in 2018. The last non-Presidential State Funeral was General Douglas MacArthur in 1964.

This effort is the brainchild of Mr. McNutt’s 10-year-old daughter, Rabel, a public school student, in honor of her godfather, Walter Ehlers, the oldest holder of the Congressional Medal of Honor when he died in 2014. He received the honor for his efforts at The Battle for Normandy in June 1944.

The McNutt family has strong ties to Nashville.  Rabel's great-grandfather, Joe Pritchett, built and operated the Sam Davis Hotel.  Her grandfather, L. William McNutt, Jr., played center and linebacker on the last undefeated Vanderbilt football team in 1943.   Rabel’s father and State Funeral for World War II Veterans co-founder, Bill McNutt, is a native Nashvillian and a graduate of Vanderbilt University.

Three World War II Medal of Honor recipients remain with us: Hershel “Woody” Williams of West Virginia, Francis (Frank) Currey of New York and Charles Coolidge of Tennessee. All three are more than 90 years of age.

Tennessee is one of four states to pass such a resolution.


Win Tickets For 2, Free Coke, Popcorn To Raiders Of The Lost Ark At The Tivoli

Michael M. Steele Was Motorcyclist, 55, Killed In Collision With SUV On Tuesday Morning On Lee Highway

William Pappageorge Shot And Killed In NE Bradley County Early Thursday Morning; Adam Herron Is Arrested


Win two free tickets to a showing of Raiders of the Lost Ark at the Tivoli Theater from Chattanoogan.com. Winners will also get complimentary popcorn and Cokes. There will be three sets ... (click for more)

A motorcyclist who was killed in a collision with an SUV on Lee Highway on Tuesday morning has been identified as Michael M. Steele, 55. At approximately 9:01 a.m., Chattanooga Police were ... (click for more)

Adam Herron has been arrested after shooting an intruder early Thursday morning. At 12:47 a.m. Herron called 911 to report a gunshot at his residence at 1050 Upper River Road NE, Charleston, ... (click for more)


Breaking News

Win Tickets For 2, Free Coke, Popcorn To Raiders Of The Lost Ark At The Tivoli

Win two free tickets to a showing of Raiders of the Lost Ark at the Tivoli Theater from Chattanoogan.com. Winners will also get complimentary popcorn and Cokes. There will be three sets of winners. The movie will be projected on a giant screen as part of the Bobby Stone Film Series. It will be shown Aug. 31 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Doors open an hour ahead of the showing. ... (click for more)

Michael M. Steele Was Motorcyclist, 55, Killed In Collision With SUV On Tuesday Morning On Lee Highway

A motorcyclist who was killed in a collision with an SUV on Lee Highway on Tuesday morning has been identified as Michael M. Steele, 55. At approximately 9:01 a.m., Chattanooga Police were notified of a serious traffic crash involving a motorcycle and a vehicle at 7500 Lee Highway. The CPD Traffic / DUI Unit responded to the scene. A GMC Acadia, driven by Gary A. Moore, ... (click for more)

Opinion

Are There Too Many Hamilton County Schools?

Two recent articles reveal a great deal about the present state of local public education. Mixing and matching information and reading between the lines reveals even more. First, there is that loooonnnngg list of Top Hamilton County Schools Salaries 2019. That nearly incredible list covers only salaries from $70,000 and up, and includes 290 different individuals -- approaching ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Drum Major For Peace

There have been many Christmas Seasons when I have looked high and low for Christmas Cards that included the poem, “One Solitary Life.” I came across the revered poem easily over 40 years ago during a kiddie matinee at the famed Radio City Music Hall, which is in midtown Manhattan. The Radio Music Hall is huge – it can comfortably seat 6,000 – and so awesome is the Christmas Spectacular ... (click for more)

Sports

Big-Play East Ridge Rolls Past Whitwell In Season Opener

Oh, what a difference a year can make. Last fall, the Whitwell Tigers were undefeated in football as they won their first state title in a season that was memorable in a number of ways. Fast forward to this season and the situation is totally different. The Tigers had to replace a bunch of graduating seniors and they’re getting used to a new head coach. Undoubtedly, Whitwell ... (click for more)

Sito Seoane Has Equalizer As Red Wolves Tie Tormenta

The Chattanooga Red Wolves’ Sito Seoane has a gift for scoring on the road. Of his four goals scored on the season, each and every one has been notched away from David Stanton Field. Goal number four was crucial, as it provided the equalizing score in Chattanooga’s 1-1 draw against Tormenta. Seoane’s critical score came in the 57th minute, after the sun had been tucked away and ... (click for more)