Two weeks ago, H.R. 5173 – “To authorize the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation to establish a commemorative work in the District of Columbia or its environs, and for other purposes,” was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, as well as the Committee on Armed Services by Congressman Marc A. Veasey, Democrat from the 33rd District of Texas. It is the “other purposes” that should concern the 1st District of South Carolina. The establishment of a monument in Washington, D.C. will take time, money and site selection, but the “other purpose” is to name Arlington, Texas as the official site for the National Medal of Honor Museum. In 1999, House Bill 1663 passed and was called the National Medal of Honor Memorial Act. Section 3: National Medal of Honor Sites recognized three locations as official sites, a memorial at Riverside National Cemetery in California, a memorial at White River State Park in Indianapolis, and the Congressional Medal of Honor Museum at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant, S.C. which was at that time situated on the ex-USS Yorktown. This Act went into law on Oct. 28, 1999. Additionally, the Medal of Honor Society is headquartered here at Patriots Point and its leadership has made it crystal clear that they are staying here. I have personally reached out to members of our South Carolina Congressional Delegation including our own Congressman to move to stop this bill which represents an attempt by the foundation building a design in Arlington, Texas to undermine Patriots Point as the National Medal of Honor Museum site. The Congressional Medal of Honor Heritage Center will be built at Patriots Point on the land-based location designated by Congress as the National Medal of Honor site.
We as a nation are incredibly indebted to all of our current service men and women, veterans, and especially the brave heroes who were and are recipients of the Medal of Honor. Any city, state or entity that wants to build a monument or museum to honor our heroes should be commended for their efforts and encouraged to do so. Ultimately, it is about remembering their sacrifice and educating our young people as well as all of us on the importance of courage and selfless acts of bravery that transcend human frailty and everyday life. Last year, I wrote an opinion piece to this publication entitled, “Our Duty to Honor and Inspire,” regarding this topic and why honoring our heroes with the National Medal of Honor Museum should not get caught up in politics. The evening before the organization that took its name from the site at Patriots Point and made the decision to search outside Mount Pleasant for a location, I sent a summary of 10 important points as to why that foundation should vote to remain here. This included substantial financial benefits from the state, county, and the Town of Mount Pleasant and that I believed a majority of Town Council was ready to vote affirmatively for them to proceed with building a museum. Their board voted to begin the search to move elsewhere anyway, convinced that our location would not bring enough visitors to the museum each year. Their Director stated clearly that this was a business decision. We wish them well as they build a Medal of Honor Museum in Arlington, Texas, but the National Medal of Honor Museum will be built here in Mount Pleasant.
Kathy Landing serves as a councilmember for the Town of Mount Pleasant and is a candidate for the 1st District of SC to US Congress.