DETROIT—Today, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) led the entire bipartisan Michigan House delegation in sending a letter to President Biden requesting his support for a state funeral for the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, United States Marine Corps Corporal “Woody” Hershel Woodrow Williams. The State Funeral for Corporal Williams will not only honor the Corporal, but will also serve to honor every American who served in the conflict.
“This national recognition would distinguish the outstanding heroism of Williams and serve to recognize the 473 service members who were awarded the Medal of Honor for service during World War II, along with the 16 million Americans who faithfully served our nation, including many Michiganders, during that war,” the lawmakers wrote.
“As this exceptional American continues to advance in age, we urge you to take decisive action to honor his actions and those of all World War II Medal of Honor recipients, and pay tribute to all those who defended our nation and the world against fascism,” they continued.
613,543 Michiganders answered the call to serve in the armed forces in the years following the attack on Pearl Harbor by military forces of the Empire of Japan and the subsequent Declaration of War on the United States by the European Axis powers. In the end, 10,263 Americans from Michigan made the ultimate sacrifice and an additional 29,321 were wounded defending our nation against fascism and tyranny.
“As members of the Michigan Congressional delegation, we respectfully request that you declare a non-presidential state funeral so our nation may honor the heroism, service, and sacrifice of Corporal Williams and all those who served during World War II,” the letter concludes.
Michigan Reps. Fred Upton (MI-06), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Haley Stevens (MI-11), Elisa Slotkin (MI-08), Andy Levin (MI-09), Jack Bergman (MI-01), John Moolenaar (MI-04), Bill Huizenga (MI-02), Peter Meijer (MI-03), Dan Kildee (MI-05), Tim Walberg (MI-07), Lisa McClain (MI-10), and Brenda Lawrence (MI-14) all joined as co-signers.
Williams was awarded the Medal of Honor “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as demolition sergeant serving with the 21st Marines, 3d Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands.” His full citation can be read here.
Congresswoman Tlaib teamed up with the Michigan Heroes Museum and State Funeral for WWII Veterans campaign to make this request, both of which endorsed the letter.
“We appreciate that the entire State of Michigan Delegation to the US House of Representatives acknowledges the value of honoring, respecting, and remembering America’s Greatest Generation by supporting the State Funeral for World War II Veteran’s initiative,.” said John Ryder, the Executive Director of the Michigan Heroes Museum and State of Michigan Chairperson for the State Funeral for WWII Veterans campaign. “The Michigan Delegation’s letter of support to the President of the United States will help us attain our shared goal of ensuring that the last surviving Medal of Honor Recipient of WWII receives a State Funeral. Moreover, this action demonstrates our nation’s everlasting commitment to all our World War II veterans and their families”
The full text of the letter can be read here.