Today is National Medal of Honor Day, a day to remember that America is the land of the free only because it is the home of the brave men and women who answer the call to serve. Our Medal of Honor recipients, the heroes awarded America’s highest honor for valor in action, are among the bravest of the brave. In the history of our great nation, nearly 40 million heroes have served in our Armed Forces. Only 3,507 have received the Medal of Honor, including 75 from Texas. The stories of some of our Medal of Honor recipients are well known, but too many are not. They all deserve to be told—and soon they will be, from the National Medal of Honor Museum, breaking ground in 2024 right here in North Texas.
Many people are surprised when they find out a National Medal of Honor Museum does not already exist. In 2018, the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation announced plans for a nationwide search for where to build this long overdue museum. I knew right away that the organizers had to come to North Texas to see firsthand our care and appreciation for the men and women who fight for this country. Nearly 1.8 million veterans and active duty military call Texas home, with North Texas being home to one of the biggest veteran populations in our state.
Honoring our heroes should never get caught up in politics, and I have been grateful to be joined in the crusade to land the museum by many Texas leaders ready to fight at every level of government and every opportunity, from Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams to Senator John Cornyn. After Arlington was selected as one of two finalists to be the National Medal of Honor Museum’s future home, I joined Democratic Rep. Marc Veasey and Republican Rep. Ron Wright in leading a bipartisan letter to the Museum Foundation. We urged that there is no better place than North Texas to proudly promote to all Americans the values behind the Medal of Honor, like patriotism, service, and citizenship. The effort was one of good minds, good hearts, and good inspiration, and demonstrated the awesome things we can achieve when we come together. In late 2019, Arlington was officially announced as the future home of the National Medal of Honor Museum, which will bring our community not only more jobs, but also a Texas-sized role in inspiring America through the true stories of some of our greatest heroes.
Since selecting its future home, the Museum’s organizers have demonstrated the pioneer spirit of our community, with the project moving ahead quickly despite the challenges of last year. Groundbreaking on the Museum will begin this October, with the Museum officially opening in 2024. Last month, Senator Cornyn also introduced a bill to build a national monument to our Medal of Honor recipients in Washington, D.C. to complement the Museum. And in the last Congress, I was proudly an original cosponsor of the companion bill introduced in the House.
I have always been grateful to represent a place that values our heroes as much as I do. The selection of North Texas as the home of the first-ever Medal of Honor Museum acknowledges our patriotism and love for our selfless servicemembers that always shines through—this National Medal of Honor Day, and every day.