Harvard’s 16 Medal of Honor Heroes
On the occasion of Veterans Day, I wrote about Medal of Honor recipients in general, but specifically about how one would expect that many of the Medal of Honor recipients would be graduates of our service academies. And indeed, 82 West Point graduates and 74 Annapolis graduates have gone on to earn that high honor.
As to the question, “But how about graduates from other colleges and universities?” I said:
Many Americans will be surprised to learn that a university often referred to as a “bastion of liberalism” not only has the honor of having produced more presidents than any other university, but also has the distinction of having graduated the “highest number of Medal of Honor recipients outside the service academies.” This, according to a source many Americans might call a “bastion of conservatism,” The Wall Street Journal.
At the time, I reported that Harvard University had 10 Medal of Honor recipients among its alumni. These Harvard graduates were to be honored at a Veterans Day service at the Harvard Memorial Church.
And honored they were at a solemn ceremony with a packed audience that included military flag officers, Harvard alumni and guests—many in their full military uniform—and that also included honored guests such as Susan Roosevelt Weld, the great-granddaughter and granddaughter of Medal of Honor recipients President Theodore Roosevelt (Class of 1880) and his son, Gen. Theodore Roosevelt II (Class of 1909), respectively.
None other than Gen. George W. Casey Jr., U.S. Army Chief of Staff, rose to honor the heroes and to read their names.
However, instead of reading the names of just 10 Harvard Medal of Honor recipients, the general read 16 names.
A letter in today’s Wall Street Journal explains:
As a direct result of William McGurn’s Nov. 3 Main Street column, “Harvard’s Medals of Honor,” we were contacted by the relatives of Harvard alumni who earned the Medal of Honor, which allowed me to validate a grand total of 16 Medal of Honor recipients from Harvard (an increase of six from what we knew the previous week). The wide readership of Mr. McGurn’s column helped us correct this unintentional oversight in time for the Patriot’s Day remembrance ceremony and Harvard alumni Medal of Honor plaque unveiling at Harvard.
At the time he wrote, we were aware of only 10 Harvard Medal of Honor recipients. But Mr. McGurn’s column prompted calls from many families, which, upon confirmation, resulted in the recognition that the long intertwined histories of Harvard University and the United States military include at least 16 brave sons of Harvard who have received the Medal of Honor.
The letter writer, who did the research and legwork so that the six additional heroes could be honored, is Paul E. Mawn, from Sudbury, Mass.
Six more patriotic kudos to Harvard University.
Image: Courtesy of Harvard Gazette; Justin Ide/Harvard Staff Photographer