W.Va. Senators Honor Woody Williams From Floor Of U.S. Senate
West Virginia’s last World War II Medal of Honor recipient, Woody Williams, will lie in honor on Thursday in the U.S. Capitol. Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito paid tribute to Williams Wednesday evening from the floor of the U.S. Senate.
Manchin said he was more than a friend, confidant and elected representative to Woody Williams. He said he gladly took marching orders from an American hero.
“It has been 77 years since Woody Williams quieted those enemy machine guns on the Sands of Iwo Jima,” Manchin said. “And while he is now sadly gone, the ideals that he lived by are not. The love of his family, his friends and his faith and service to the country above all, Gen. George Patton once said, 'It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.' He lived every day as if he were given a second chance, and we are all so much better for it. One of Woody's last wishes was lying in state at the United States Capitol and it wasn't for himself. We spoke about this years ago. It wasn't for himself. But he wanted to make sure that he'd represent all Medal of Honor recipients from World War Two and there were only 472. A 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.”
Capito said she thinks of her father, Gov. Arch Moore, himself a World War Two veteran who received a Purple Heart, and all the others from the greatest generation when she remembers a man who so many honor as the greatest of that generation.
“That guy could give a speech,” Capito said. “And it was always very captivating whenever he was on the program. His mission was to inspire those especially younger Americans to answer that same call to service that he did as a teenage boy. As he said years later, the people need to remember that if we ever lose our freedom, we will never be able to regain it. He believed that to every core of his body. 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, what an incredible legacy to leave. He also never forgot his fellow veterans, serving as a veteran's service rep for 33 years at the VA. And I'm proud that that legacy of care lives on forever. In the Hershel Woody Williams VA Medical Center in Cabell County, outside of Huntington, West Virginia, as a matter of fact, Sen. Manchin told me that that was one of his requests. He needs another exit for that hospital. 'Joe, could you arrange that?' But he did all this with the same trademark humility that we came to know and love about him.”
Williams is one of a select few in American history to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol.