COLUMN: Recognize ‘Home of Heroes’ with national museum
“What is it... something in the water out there in Pueblo? All you guys turned out to be heroes.” These words, now recognizable by anyone who has visited the Medal of Honor Memorial in Downtown Pueblo, were spoken by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953 when he presented the Medal of Honor to a Pueblo resident, U.S. Marine Corps Cpt. Raymond G. “Jerry” Murphy.
Cpt. Murphy is in extraordinary company as one of four men from Pueblo who have been awarded the nation’s highest decoration for military service by demonstrating “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty.” More than 20 million Americans have worn the uniform and served in the military since the nation’s founding and yet only slightly more than 3,500 service members have been awarded the medal.
All of these recipients knowingly placed their lives in extreme danger without any regard to their personal well being, with the hopes that their actions would save the lives of their brothers and sisters in arms. An overwhelming majority of Medal of Honor recipients do not live to tell their personal accounts and yet Pueblo entered unprecedented territory becoming the only municipality in the U.S. to have four living recipients.
Pueblo is incredibly proud of its hometown heroes and displays this throughout the community. We recently learned that the National Medal of Honor Museum in Mount Pleasant, S.C., is looking for a new location and I believe Pueblo would be the ideal place. I recently joined my colleagues in the Colorado congressional delegation in requesting that the museum’s chief executive officer seriously consider the state at large as the new home for the Medal of Honor Museum.
In a separate letter, I explicitly laid out my desire that Pueblo should be considered for the relocation, given its historical ties to the medal and strong community-wide support.
A museum of this magnitude would especially benefit Pueblo by complementing the incredible work that already has been done to support veterans and their families. As the headquarters for the Center for American Values, the location of the Medal of Honor Memorial, host city for numerous National Medal of Honor Society conventions and the home to thousands of veterans, the Pueblo community has laid the groundwork to more than justify the moving of a national museum to its city limits.
Pueblo’s unique historical ties to the Medal of Honor alone make for a compelling reason to bring a national museum, let alone all of the community support and work that has gone into honoring this heritage for decades. I invite the museum board, Gov. Jared Polis and the rest of the Colorado delegation to join my calls on bringing Pueblo to the forefront of the museum relocation conversation.
Pueblo deserves consideration to bring a permanent national museum that honors all Medal of Honor recipients in the “Home of Heroes.”