The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

High honor is coming to Valdez man for civilian services during WWII

Public is invited to ceremony as Kennedy awarded Congressional Gold Medal

 

September 13, 2017



A Valdez man is about to joins the ranks of such lofty world figures such as Winston Churchill, Mother Theresa and Frank Sinatra.

This Friday, David Kennedy will be posthumously presented with the Congressional Gold Medal, and you are invited to see this historic event.

Kennedy is slated to be honored such this Friday at 6 p.m. at a ceremony at the Valdez Civic Center.

Kennedy is being honored for his service as a Civil Air Patrol Member during WWII.

The public is welcome to attend according to Maj James McIntyre, CAP

Squadron Commander, U.S. Air Force Auxiliary.

"...approximately 300 other individuals and the American Red Cross, have been accorded the unique distinction of being awarded a Congressional Gold Medal," said Matthew Glassman in a 2016 report to the US Congress.

The tradition goes back to the Continental Congress according to Glassman.

"Congress from the outset was "imbued with the conviction that only the very highest achievements [were] entitled to such a distinction, and that the value of a reward is enhanced by its rarity" he said.

The first recipient of a Congressional Gold Medal? No other than Gen. George Washington.

The honor is not to be confused with the most famous of honors, the Congressional Medal of Honor. While a lofty acknowledgment, the gold medal is much rarer.

Image courtesy US Congress

An image of the 2014 gold medals commissioned at the behest of Congress that honor unsung heroes of the Civilian Air Patrol.

"During the Civil War, more than 1,500 Americans were awarded the Medal of Honor," Glassman said. "but only one individual - Ulysses S. Grant - received a Congressional Gold Medal."

Another winner from that period, Pvt. George F. Robinson, was honored with a Congressional Gold Medal for "heroic conduct" for his role in saving the life of none other than William H. Seward - who was in the eye of a knife-wielding assassin in 1865.

Seward survived and as Secretary of State, arranged for the sale of Alaska to the United States from Russia.

So what does a Congressional Gold Medal look like?

Each is cast individually.

"After a Congressional Gold Medal bill has been approved by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the President, officials of the United States Mint meet with the sponsors of the legislation and members of the honoree's family to discuss possible designs for the medal," Glassman said.

 

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