PROMO 660 x 440 Flag - Flag Veterans - iStock

Plans advance for Medal of Honor museum, monument

Edwin J. Viera

(Virginia News Connection) While National Medal of Honor Month is ending, plans to develop a museum and monument for the award are continuing.

Numerous Medal of Honor recipients were in Washington, D.C., earlier this week to talk over ideas for a monument on the National Mall, and a museum, to be built in Arlington, Texas.

Britt Slabinski, a retired U.S. Navy SEAL, was awarded the medal in 2018 for his actions during a special mission in Afghanistan. He said he thinks the monument should convey a message that one person can make a difference in the lives of many. 

"I just want it to communicate an idea that you're never out of the fight," Slabinski said. "Whatever fight that it is that you're in, no matter how challenging you think the situation is that you're facing, you always have options. You always have choices, and you can choose your attitude in any given situation."

When Slabinski found out he was going to receive the Medal of Honor, he said he feels it should embody a sense of camaraderie among soldiers in combat, instead of highlighting one individual for their service. While sites for the monument are still being narrowed down, the museum is slated to open late next year.

Since its inception 160 years ago, more than 3,500 people have been awarded the National Medal of Honor. Chris Cassidy, who heads the Medal of Honor Museum and Foundation, said the project is designed not only to inspire Americans, but also unite them.

"There's lots of stuff right now that divides people," Cassidy said. "There's very few things that bring people together. And this project is something that unites people. That's why we're so proud to be part of it."

He added that the museum will focus on normal Americans who did something extraordinary when the nation needed them. Cassidy said he hopes visitors will be inspired by their stories to be a little more courageous in their own lives.