CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The last World War II Medal of Honor recipient and a West Virginia native, Hershel “Woody” Williams, died at the age of 98.
According to WCHS, Williams died early Wednesday morning per his foundation, the Woody Williams Foundation. He was hospitalized at the VA medical center that was named after him in West Virginia.
“Pray that, while the weight of this loss is profound, we all will be able to take solace in the fact that Woody’s contributions to our nation inspired generations, cultivated similar bravery, and saved lives. Woody Williams will go down in history as one of the greatest West Virginians who ever lived, and we salute him for everything he gave to our state and our nation,” said West Virginia Governor Jim Justice in a news release.
WOWK said he was born in Marion County, West Virginia on October 2, 1923. He was the last living World War II Medal of Honor recipient. He served in the United States Marine Corps during the war.
He received his Medal of Honor on October 5, 1945, from President Harry S. Truman for his “actions, commitment to his fellow service members, and heroism,” said the Woody Williams Foundation website, per WOWK.
Williams worked with veterans and families as a Veterans Service Representative for the Department of Veterans Affairs for 33 years, according to WOWK. He also worked with the Veterans Nursing Home in West Virginia for about 10 years and served on the Governor’s Military Advisory Board for the state of West Virginia.
“Woody was part of what was undoubtedly the greatest generation that ever lived. The bravery displayed by men like Woody Williams across America and throughout West Virginia will likely never be matched, and we have to make sure their sacrifices are never forgotten. There are still many World War II Veterans alive in West Virginia, but they won’t be with us forever. We should all take this as an opportunity to reflect on how much these Veterans mean to us. If you know a World War II Veteran, thank them, love them, talk to them, hear their stories while they’re still with us – it is so important. We need to keep their memories alive because, when the world was at its darkest hour, they were our shining light,” said Gov. Justice in a news release.
Gov. Justice offered to have Williams lie in state in the West Virginia Capitol and has offered a state funeral for him to be held as well, according to a news release. All United States and West Virginia flags will be lowered to half-staff in his honor statewide.
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