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Medal of Honor presented

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  • Thomas Clemens
    Last night a very moving ceremony took place in the Antietam National Battlefield Auditorium. Henry Willard presented a Medal of Honor awarded to his great
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 18, 2007
      Last night a very moving ceremony took place in the Antietam National
      Battlefield Auditorium. Henry Willard presented a Medal of Honor
      awarded to his great grandfather, Lt. George White Hooker to the people
      of the United States of America. Lt. Hooker was awarded the medal for
      valor displayed at Crampton's Gap on Sept. 14, 1862 with the 4th VT
      Infantry. There is a story about it on the Herald Mail website today.

      Mr. Willard was below decks on the USS Franklin, a WWII aircraft
      carrier on a day in March of 1945 when a Japanese bomber dropped two 500
      lbs bombs through the flight deck. He and over 100 sailors were trapped
      below decks and were led to safety by a Navy LT who also earned the
      MOH.
      Mr. Willard's comments were entertaining as he presented the medal.
      Although he knew little about Hooker he comes from a family rich in
      history. An ancestor built the Willard's Hotel in DC and mentioned that
      Julia Ward Howe wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic there. Although
      the hotel is no longer in their family, he said they always sing that
      tune at family funerals.
      He also was the grand nephew of Jim Fiske, the NYC financial buccaneer,
      and he told several anecdotes about him.
      John Schildt gave a very moving speech about heroism and past heroes,
      all the way up to Fireman patrick Roy, killed on board the USS Cole and
      buried in Antietam's National Cemetery in November of 2000.
      It was a wonderful evening and the Willard family's generosity is an
      example for us all.




      Thomas G. Clemens D.A.
      Professor of History
      Hagerstown Community College




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