March 25th is Congressional Medal of Honor Day which commemorates the anniversary of the presentation of the first six Medals of Honor in 1863.
The origins of the Medal of Honor date back to December 9, 1861, when Senate Bill 82 proposed to award the Navy Medal of Honor to “petty officers, seamen, landsmen and marines” during the Civil War. President Lincoln signed the bill on December 21, 1861. Two months later, the Army Medal of Honor was born from similar legislation.
The most recent presentation of twenty-four Medals of Honor was March 18, 2014.
On our tours, while we examine the large scale operations of Overlord and Market-Garden, we endeavor to commemorate the grit and courage of solitary soldiers who carried out the objectives of military leaders and strategists. We stop at the exact locations where two such men, “in action involving actual conflict with an enemy, distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty” earned the Medal of Honor.
PFC Charles DeGlopper, age 22, was awarded the Medal of Honor for action at La Fiere and the Merderet River. Today, the 82nd Airborne’s Iron Mike statue stands guard over this hallowed ground.
LTC Robert Cole, age 29, earned the Medal of Honor for action on D-Day, but died in September 1944 near Eindhoven, NE at the start of Operation Market-Garden. We stop at the Cole Memorial in a small grove of trees where Cole was killed, and pay our respects at his grave in the ABMC Cemetery of Margraten.