Medal of Honor, the Nation's highest award for military valor,
is given only to those who have acted with supreme courage,
with total disregard for their own safety in the face of the
most hazardous conditions.
is an award that only a comparative handful of men in the world
are entitled to wear. It is bestowed by Act of Congress and
reflects the nation's gratitude to those who, in moments of
uncommon risk, offered everything they had in her defense,
including life itself.
medal itself is but a humble token, a gesture of recognition
for sacrifices which cannot be repaid in worldly goods.
the twelve men who were awarded the Medal of Honor for "conspicuous
gallantry" while serving with the Fourth Marine Division,
seven did not live to have the honor bestowed on them personally.
Six of these men died in the actions for which they are cited.
"above and beyond the call of duty" were not mere words
but a challenge which involved their skill, determination, and
self-sacrifice in the face of almost certain death. Their reward
was the knowledge that they were acting in the tradition of the
highest ideals of the Naval Service and of the Nation it represents.
who lived to wear the Medal of Honor did so proudly and yet
with the spirit of humility befitting true heroes. They shared
the highest glory of which it is a symbol, yet held it in solemn
trust for comrades less fortunate. Whether they lived or whether
they died, our Nation is richer for their actions.