The Memorial Church plaque recognizing Harvard recipients of the Medal of Honor will be rededicated on Veteran’s Day, 11/11/11, at 11:00 a.m. to include all 17 alumni who are known to have received the highest military decoration, bestowed by the U.S. President.
When the plaque was first installed in 2009, 10 names were listed. A week before the original dedication ceremony on Nov. 11, 2009, Capt. Paul E. Mawn USNR (Ret.) ’63, who was coordinating the dedication of the plaque. received a number of calls from family members of Medal of Honor recipients requesting that their relative be included.
In the years since, Mawn—who serves as the chairman of Advocates for Harvard Reserve Officers’ Training Corps—has vetted all of the names suggested and concluded that 17 alumni have received the award.
Major General John E. Hyten ’81 of the U.S. Air Force will speak at the Nov. 11 event, and over 150 veterans are expected to attend.
Other than the service academies, Harvard alumni have received more Medal of Honor awards than any other university.
A recently published book titled “Crimson Valor” chronicles the stories of the 17 Harvard alumni who have received the distinction.
“This book will promote and promulgate the long tradition of Harvard alumni defending our national security by serving our great country in the U.S. military, which is one of the goals of the Advocates for Harvard ROTC which we define as the “‘Long Crimson Line,’” Mawn wrote in an email.
The book was authored by Capt. Philip A. Keith ’68 USN (Ret.), a former fighter pilot and a veteran of the Vietnam War.Keith pledged to donate 50 percent of the net profits from the sale of the book to offset the cost of the plaque, which was funded by alumni.
President of the University Drew G. Faust is expected to attend the Nov. 11 event, which is being coordinated by the Harvard Veterans Organization.
This event is emblematic of Harvard’s recent efforts to rectify its relationship with the military.
Until last spring, ROTC had not been recognized by the University for nearly four decades, causing some tension between Harvard and advocates for the military.
Last month, Harvard officially opened a naval ROTC office, and the University is currently in discussions with the army and air force about their potential presence on campus in the future.
-Staff Writer Zoe A. Y. Weinberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org