Williams ceremony at U.S. Capitol set for Thursday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 13, 2022

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Hershel W. “Woody” Williams, the last remaining Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, will lie in honor at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, Sen. Joe Manchin said.

Afterward, Williams will be recognized at a wreath-laying ceremony at the World War II Memorial on the National Mall.

Williams, who died on June 29 at 98, was a legend in his native West Virginia for his heroics under fire over several crucial hours at the battle for Iwo Jima.

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As a young Marine corporal, Williams went ahead of his unit in February 1945 and eliminated a series of Japanese machine gun positions. Facing small-arms fire, Williams fought for four hours, repeatedly returning to prepare demolition charges and obtain flamethrowers.

Later that year, the 22-year-old Williams received the Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman. The Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest award for military valor.

The ceremonial arrival for Williams’ casket will begin at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

From 11 a.m.–noon, Congressional leadership will speak and West Virginia lawmakers Manchin and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito will present a wreath.

At 3:30 p.m., Williams’ casket will depart the Capitol, followed by the wreath-laying ceremony at the National Mall.

Both ceremonies will be live-streamed on YouTube.

Williams remained in the Marines after the war, serving a total of 20 years, before working for the Veterans Administration for 33 years as a veterans service representative.

In 2018, the Huntington VA medical center was renamed in his honor, and the Navy commissioned a mobile base sea vessel in his name in 2020.