His name is Hershel “Woody” Williams. He is the last remaining United States Marine Medal of Honor recipient of WWII. But at the age of 95, this still vibrant, committed Marine still has one more mission to accomplish. That mission is to create an enduring gift to all of his fallen Marine friends and their families. You will meet and hear him in this video from FOX News.
Woody Williams represents a common trait among those who have received the Medal of Honor, an unswerving, humble commitment to others. He, like other MOH recipients, know that they wear that highest honor for others, not just themselves. Williams, at 95 years of age is still giving his all for others, specifically for the families of those who have fallen on the field of battle while serving this country in our armed forces.
In 2010, Williams founded the Williams Foundation with the purpose of building monuments to Gold Star families all over this country. To date the Williams Foundation has built 44 of those monuments. He wants to have at least one in all 50 states.
When a family loses one of its own in times of war, they often feel alone in their loss. Williams has seen how these monuments have brought Gold Star families together. They meet each other and become friends and realize that their pain is shared by many others, that they are not alone in their loss.
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At his advanced age, you would not be surprised if he was more sedentary, but Williams spends up to 200 days on the road each year promoting the Gold Star family monuments and addressing the issue at countless events. It is his mission to help the nation remember the cost of freedom is paid by both the fallen and their families.
He has one last dream as well. He reminds us that during WWI, families who had sons serving over in France would hand flags with blue stars on them in their window. If that son fell on the field of battle, the blue star would be replaced by a gold star.
He would like to see that practice carried out in communities across the country again today.
Williams suggests that it would be good for our local communities to know that those who serve are from among us, that their families are our neighbors. It would help communities to be aware of the fact that there are those among us who have the courage and the commitment to serve this great nation in the uniforms of our Armed Services. And it is they pay the daily cost of freedom for the rest of us.
You will see Hershel “Woody” Williams’ Medal of Honor story in this video as well. And you will see that Woody Williams gave 33 years to serving his fellow servicemen working with the Veterans Administration helping veterans and their families obtain the benefits that were due them.
Woody Williams is truly a man of generous service.
The Veterans Site honors the life and legacy of Hershel “Woody” Williams. We are humbled by his selfless service to his fellow veterans, to his fallen Marine buddies, and to their Gold Star families. We believe that he is a true model of the best of the American character.
May God bless you and keep you strong, Woody Williams.
Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.