As a Member of Congress, I had the privilege of knowing several recipients of the Medal of Honor. In fact, I was honored to be a speaker at the funeral of the extraordinary Desmond Doss.
My relationship with Charles Coolidge was very different for all the right reasons......
Yes, when he finally left this earth Tuesday with a direct ticket to his Savior the Lord Jesus, Chattanooga lost its most prominent citizen.
And as the oldest Medal of Honor recipient, our still great nation lost one of its true-to-life heroes.
But I got to know Charles Coolidge in a much more personal way. When he was not able to attend his beloved First Presbyterian church, he would often attend Red Bank Baptist church on Dayton Boulevard.
His son Bill sings in the choir at Red Bank and would often roll his father's wheel chair up the aisle and park his dad right next to me as I sat in the aisle near the back of the church with my family most every Sunday while I had the privilege to represent the Third District.
In those many conversations before and after church, I got to know one of the most humble, caring, gentle, decent and respectful human beings that I ever knew.
No doubt he was an extraordinary American hero. But Charlie Coolidge was just a really good man.
What a life! What a person! We are all better because he lived and worked among us. May he never be forgotten and always appreciated.
Member of US Congress 1995-2011