Scalise honored by State Funeral for WWII vets
The State Funeral for World War II Veterans announced recently that U.S Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie, received this year’s national George Marshall Award during a ceremony at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.
The honor recognizes a prominent American who best celebrates the sacrifice, resilience and service of the 16 million women and men who served in our Armed Forces during World War II.
“Rep. Scalise has been a strong supporter of our mission to convince the President of the United States to provide a state funeral in Washington. D.C., for the last remaining World War II Medal of Honor recipient, when he passes away,” said State Funeral for World War II Veterans Chairman Lee William "Bill" McNutt.
“We are blessed to have his strong leadership in The Pelican State!”
Both chambers of the Louisiana congressional delegation in Washington D.C. and both houses of the state Legislature in Baton Rouge recently called on the Trump administration to support the State Funeral for World War II Veterans’ mission. In total, 473 Americans received given our nation’s highest military honor during the Second World War.
Today, only three remain.
“The approximate 400,000 remaining veterans of the Second World War will benefit from a State Funeral in Washington, D.C. for the final MOH recipient from World War II,” said Greg Hamer, National Board Member of the State Funeral for World War II Veterans, who resides in Morgan City.
“This will be a final salute to the greatest generation, and we’re grateful for Rep. Scalise and the entire Louisiana Congressional delegation and both houses of the State Legislatures’ support. They are all in on this initiative. We need as many elected voices as possible from across the county to join this cause if we are to ensure this happens.”
“Congressman Scalise’s role in this sets the standard for other officials to follow,” said James McCloughan, a Vietnam War veteran who received the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2017 for heroism near Tam Kỳ in 1969.
“During that time in America’s history, it is amazing how The Greatest Generation stepped up to the plate to fight for the freedom our country believes in. The citizens of this nation were behind the cause, as the 16 million men and women carried out our military mission in WWII.
"It is up to our generation to show gratitude to that great generation for the example they set for all generations to follow. Every time the most powerful, intelligent and compassionate U.S. military force stands up for peace in this world, it is the actions of the WWII Veterans who set the bar for the defense of democracy.”
“I am humbled and honored to receive the National George Marshall Award. The passing of the last World War II Medal of Honor recipient will represent the end of an era.
"For the past century, the Greatest Generation has guided our nation through great and terrible trials,” said Scalise. We will soon be left without their wisdom, courage, and moral conviction; and while their sacrifice will live on in our national story and in our democratic experiment, we will be somehow less without them. A state funeral in Washington, D.C., is the only fitting goodbye to these brave patriots. I am proud to do my part in making this mission a reality.”
In addition to Scalise, other members of the Louisiana Congressional Delegation affixing their signatures to the Presidential letter were U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-Baton Rogue) and John Kennedy (R-Baton Rouge,) and U.S. Reps. Clay Higgins (R-Port Barre), Mike Johnson (R-Shreveport), Ralph Abraham (R-Alto), Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) and Cedric Richmond (D-New Orleans).
A State Funeral is a seven to 10-day national event and consists of ceremonies within the state where the honoree was in residence, ceremonies within Washington, D.C., and in the state (or at Arlington National Cemetery) where the authorized individual has chosen to be interred.
All funeral arrangements are made by the U.S. Military District of Washington, D.C., and involve Armed Forces honor guards, elite military bands, and/or guns support (source White House.gov website). The last two State Funerals were Ronald Reagan in 2004 and George Bush in 2018. The last non-Presidential State Funeral was General Douglas MacArthur in 1964.
This effort is the brainchild of McNutt’s 10-year-old daughter, Rabel, a public school student, in honor of her godfather, Walter Ehlers, the oldest holder of the Congressional Medal of Honor when he died in 2014. He received the honor for his efforts at The Battle for Normandy in June 1944.
Individuals can show their support by signing the Change.org petition.
Three World War II Medal of Honor recipients remain with us: Hershel “Woody” Williams of West Virginia, Francis (Frank) Currey of New York and Charles Coolidge of Tennessee. All three are more than 90 years of age.
Louisiana’s congressional delegation is one of six states to call for a state funeral for the World War II resolution. The state is also one of five to pass a joint resolution supporting the initiative.