While the subject matter we portray represents the past, our true focus is on shaping the future. How we see it, the greatest change we seek is expanding the minds, and filling the hearts, of our visitors—encouraging them to effect positive change in their communities. Through the Medal of Honor Foundation’s Character Development Program, we will teach the six characteristics that all of these brave recipients share: Courage, Commitment, Sacrifice, Patriotism, Integrity and Citizenship.
Here in the Chattanooga area, we are the stewards of hallowed ground where 33 Medals of Honor were awarded—from the blood-soaked fields of Chickamauga to Missionary Ridge to the stirring site of the Battle Above the Clouds. Yet, what even many history-minded people don’t realize is that we are also entrusted with the birthplace of our nation’s most treasured military honor: the Medal of Honor.
Not far from here, the daring actions of Andrews Raiders during “The Great Locomotive Chase” resulted in the first Medals of Honor being bestowed upon 19 selfless Union soldiers.
Furthermore, the Chattanooga National Cemetery is the final resting place for eight of Andrews Raiders, including four of the initial Medal of Honor recipients.
These and other indelible connections make Chattanooga the ideal location for the definitive Medal of Honor Heritage Center—and offers an ideal way to honor local recipient and hero, Charles H. Coolidge. With your support, we can create a high-profile tribute that is befitting of our nation’s highest award for valor—a tribute that reverently underscores both the history of the Medal and the sacrifices of the approximately 3,500 honorees.