MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - The National Medal of Honor Leadership and Education Center is donating over $3.5 million to expand and enhance the current museum’s footprint on the USS Yorktown on Patriots Point.
Telling the story of 3,500 members of the military who have received the Medal of Honor, with only 65 of the recipients still alive today, the museum wants to highlight the important role the Medal of Honor plays in the community and state of South Carolina.
Mount Pleasant has been the headquarters for the Medal of Honor Recipients nonprofit organization since 1992 to encourage selfless leadership to the next generations, according to Patriots Point Development Board Vice Chair Wayne Adams.
“That’s courage, integrity, commitment, sacrifice, citizenship and patriotism,” Adams says. “We believe we can make a difference here in the Lowcountry, in our great state and all across America.”
The event on Friday celebrated the work that the Congressional Medal of Honor Society has done in building the museum and preparing for National Medal of Honor Day on March 25.
Ryan Pitts received the Medal of Honor during his service in July of 2008 when he fought while wounded during a firefight in Afghanistan, and he now works as the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Secretary of the Board to educate future generations.
“I think it’s pretty special right? When I was a kid growing up, I didn’t know any Medal of Honor recipients; now my kids are growing up knowing me, they’ve come here they’ve gotten to walk through the museum,” Pitts says. “I think anything we can do to bring it to the next generation as they’re coming up behind us to see that you know, everybody that came before them and what we did. We were people just like them.”
The current Medal of Honor Museum inside the USS Yorktown has not been renovated since 2006, and the museum’s director of archives and collections Laura Jowdy says the donated money will be used to create a more interactive and updated museum.
“The renovated museum is going to be a much more interactive experience, so the visitors are really going to feel sucked in and really get the messaging well,” she says. “I think when they leave it is going to resonated for a long time.”
The renovated Medal of Honor Museum plans to be completed by the spring or summer of 2024 as well as a new National Medal of Honor Leadership and Education Center on Patriots Point.
“This is just our opportunity to expand our footprint on the USS Yorktown,” Pitts says. “Our museum is truly the intersection of history and education and offers our visitors a chance to experience them firsthand.”
There will be a Q & A session on the USS Yorktown Saturday at 11 a.m. That will be followed by a screening of the movie Devotion with the son and grandson of two of the aviators portrayed in the movie as well as a wreath-laying program.
Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.