July 14, 2022

Chairman Takano Honors the Life of Woody Williams, Announces New Committee Effort to Honor the Stories of our Veterans

Press Contact

Miguel R. Salazar (202) 779-1486

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Chairman Takano (D-Calif.) released the following statement honoring the life of Chief Warrant Officer 4 Herschel “Woody” Williams, the last remaining World War II Medal of Honor recipient and announcing a new Committee effort to raise awareness and better understand how we memorialize the legacy of veterans’ contributions to our country.  

“Woody was awarded this nation’s highest military honor for volunteering as a flamethrower during the Battle of Iwo Jima, storming seven pillboxes with only four fellow Marines to protect him. Following his military service, Woody continued serving his country, like so many of America’s veterans, and hung up his uniform in exchange for a suit and tie. He spent 33 years as a veterans’ service representative at the Veterans Administration and worked to establish the Woody Williams Foundation, which seeks to recognize and advocate for Gold Star Families.

“Woody’s lifetime of service and charity reminds us of the continued contributions all veterans make on behalf of our nation. As a nation, it is important that we celebrate these sacrifices every day – because, there is a cost to the freedom we enjoy. I led a Congressional delegation over Memorial Day to honor the Americans who defended our country on foreign battlefields. I was moved to see the rows of headstones of fallen men and women, a reminder of Americans’ bravery showcased by the cemeteries and memorials managed by the American Battle Monuments Commission.  We must honor these memories, painful though they may at times be.

“That is why, today, I am announcing that the Committee will embark on a new effort to increase awareness for of these monuments and how we can better gather and tell the stories of all Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation.
“By ensuring we tell the stories of all Americans, including those whose stories are not as well known and whose roles have been historically overlooked, we honor the full history of our country. Modern technology offers exciting opportunities to highlight these sites and share the stories of servicemembers buried abroad.
“Woody William's life serves as an extraordinary example of the selflessness, courage, and resilience that our servicemembers demonstrate daily. By focusing on this new effort, we can lift up his legacy, and ensure that we preserve the memories of millions more veterans.”