Senators praise life of Woody Williams ahead of ceremony at U.S. Capitol – West Virginia MetroNews

Woody Williams, the beloved Medal of Honor recipient from West Virginia, will lie in honor today at the U.S. Capitol.
His family will be in attendance as Williams is honored in a ceremony by senators, representatives and high-ranking U.S. military personnel. Williams will be the first West Virginian to lie in honor at the U.S. Capitol.
Williams was 98 when he died June 29. At the time of his death, Williams was the last living Medal of Honor recipient from World War II.
Since then, West Virginians and others have been celebrating his heroic life of service.
Williams was presented with the Medal of Honor for his actions on Iwo Jima during World War II. Under constant fire, he used a flame thrower to take out seven Japanese gun emplacements, usually called “pill boxes.” That effort gave Marines a foothold to advance.
His heroics occurred the same day as the iconic image of soldiers raising the American flag atop Mount Suribachi.
Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia each honored Williams in congressional speeches on Wednesday night. The two senators will participate in today’s ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.
“It has been 77 years since Woody quieted those enemy machine guns on the sands of Iwo Jima, and while he is now sadly gone, the ideals that he lived by are not: love of his family, his friends and his faith; and service to country above self,” Manchin said in his Senate floor speech.
Manchin said that one of Williams’s last wishes was to lie in honor at the United States Capitol, “not for himself, but to represent all Medal of Honor recipients of World War II.” Manchin said “the West Virginia farm boy from Quiet Dell will lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, laying to rest the sacrifices of a generation of heroes. Woody can rest in peace knowing his mission is complete.”
Capito said it’s fitting that Williams will lie in honor at the Capitol.
“It’s a well-deserved recognition for a man from humble beginnings,” she said in a floor speech.
“The youngest of eleven children, Woody’s acts of heroism would eventually help the United States capture the pivotal island of Iwo Jima, a world away from the dairy farm he was raised on in the town of Quiet Dell, West Virginia.”
Capito continued, “But, what set Woody apart was more than those acts of valor on the battlefield. It was what he did, and how he carried himself, in the more than 75 years since the Second World War.”
She cited his work advocating for Gold Star families, working to ensure the memories of loved ones lost. And she said Williams shaped his community through his example of service after the war.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that because of Woody, there are more people who answered the call and chose to serve the United States in some way, shape, or form,” Capito said. “What an incredible legacy to leave.”

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