Mount Pleasant Magazine Nov/Dec 2023

36 | | BY MAURICE J. FRAZIER The Highest Honor Patriots Point to upgrade Medal of Honor Museum aboard USS Yorktown When walking through the streets of Charleston or an adjacent plantation, the echoes of history can be heard and seen all around. We are encouraged to remember important lessons, lest history repeat itself. Lessons we continue to learn. The Charleston area serves as a catalyst for enrichment, with centuries of history and evolving culture. The USS Yorktown is part of that treasure trove of history from which we can learn valuable lessons. Since 1976, The USS Yorktown has been not only a staple in the Charleston Harbor, but one of the top tourist attractions in Mount Pleasant. With over 400,000 annual visitors touring Yorktown, it continues to educate and give reverence to those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. The Medal of Honor Museum, displayed within the ship’s walls for visitors to admire and gather inspiration, has been located onboard the USS Yorktown since 1992. This museum is the home of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, the recipients who wear the medal and its core values: courage, commitment, integrity, sacrifice, citizenship and patriotism. The current facility was designated by Congress under the National Medal of Honor Memorial Act in 1999 as a National Medal of Honor Site. On Sept. 14, 2023, the Congressional Medal of Honor Museum at Patriots Point launched a $3.5 million project to transform the Medal of Honor Museum. The USS Yorktown will remain open and welcome tourists, but the Medal of Honor Museum will be closed for renovations until May 2024. Once the Medal of Honor Museum reopens, it will feature inspiring interactive exhibits for all ages. The immersive experiences and never-before-seen artifacts will tell the personal stories of those who have received the nation’s highest award for military valor. Some of the new exhibits will showcase heroes from World War II, the Korean War and the Civil War. These exhibits will take the public on a journey through time, while giving more detailed insight into the experiences of these brave men and women during battle. The new project underscores the commitment of the Society, the Leadership and Education Center and Patriots Point to preserving and teaching the legacy of the Medal of Honor and its recipients. “When the Society moved down to Charleston, all the archives could have fit in a single box. Now, we have grown,” stated John Falkenbury, executive vice president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. “We have a full archive. Those archives and this museum are essential in preserving the legacy of the Medal of Honor. 3,517 recipients of the medal, out of 41 million men and women serving this great nation since the Civil War. It’s a small percentage and a true honor in which we our town Left to right: Congressional Medal of Honor Society members John Falkenbury, Wayne Adams, Leroy Petry, Melvin Morris, Harvey Schiller and Mayor John Tecklenburg.