As the official airline of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation for Medal of Honor Day, American has provided transportation to medal recipients for the past five years, in keeping with our long history of supporting U.S. service members, veterans and their families.
The Medal of Honor, the highest U.S. military distinction for valor, has been presented to fewer than 3,500 service members, many of them posthumously, since the Civil War. In tribute to the 80 living recipients, American transported a group of these distinguished heroes from New York to Washington, D.C., on March 23, where they were recognized in conjunction with National Medal of Honor Day.
More than 35 recipients were onboard the flight, including Hershel “Woody” Williams, who was 21 years old when he received the Medal of Honor for his valor on the island of Iwo Jima during World War II. Covered by only four riflemen, Williams fought desperately for four hours under enemy fire and repeatedly returned to his own lines and back, neutralizing one of the most vigorously defended Japanese strongholds encountered by his regiment.
Following their arrival at Reagan Washington National Airport, the group attended a private luncheon during which American reaffirmed its commitment to all living Medal of Honor recipients through a presentation of pledges and honoring them as American’s highest valued customers with elite status recognition.
While in Washington, D.C., the recipients participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, as well as made visits to other monuments and receptions in their honor.
American has a long history of honoring our nation’s troops and the freedoms they so valiantly defend, and this is simply one of many ways we recognize and thank them for their service. We hope you’ll join us.