Tennessee Senators Marsha Blackburn and Lamar Alexander are joining officials in other states urging a state funeral for the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient. Charles Coolidge, of Chattanooga, is one of only two remaining.
The letter to President Donald Trump says:
Dear Mr. President, We write today to request the designation of a state funeral for the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War II. Between 1941 and 1945, over 16 million men and women answered the call to serve during the deadliest conflict in human history.
Many Americans risked their lives in defense of freedom, but just 472 exceptional men were recognized with the Medal of Honor. Among the Greatest Generation, the actions of these few Americans earned them the highest military distinction. Only two Medal of Honor recipients from WWII are living today, U.S. Army Technical Sergeant Charles Coolidge of Tennessee, and U.S. Marine Corp Corporal Hershel “Woody” Williams of West Virginia. As these warriors continue to advance in age, we urge you to take decisive action. Honoring their heroism with a state funeral would serve as a final salute to their gallantry, and to the service and sacrifice of all those who fought during WWII. A state funeral is the highest honor that can be posthumously granted to an American citizen. It is fitting then, that this distinction be bestowed upon a veteran who earned the military’s highest honor while fighting to preserve the freedom on which this nation was founded. Thank you for your attention to this matter and to these great Americans.