National Medal of Honor Day honors heroes of war, heroes at home
This weekend marks the annual National Medal of Honor Day to recognize the men and women given the highest military honor awarded by Congress.
Only 3,500 medals have been awarded, and this week, 16 of the 82 living recipients are here in D.C.
The playing of Taps at military funerals dates back to 1848.
But at today's annual Arlington National Cemetery wreath-laying to recognize Medal of Honor recipients, Taps signified lives saved by these courageous honorees as much as lives lost during service to country.
"These men exemplify the ideals of courage, patriotism and service by distingushing themselves during the chaos of battle," says David McIntyre, president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation.
"We would just like for you to know that we didn't do our country any honors by our service," says Patrick Brady, a Medal of Honor recipient. "God did us a favor by allowing us to be born in this country."
Yesterday as the 16 Medal of Honor recipients arrived at Reagan National Airport, flag waving supporters were there to greet them.
Today they gathered to recognize those outside the military who also put self before country. Men and women like retired Captain James McCormack, who helps homeless vets.
And Montel Mixon who went inside a neighbor's burning home in Minnesota to rescue a woman and her two children when her boyfriend set fire to their home.
In recognition of National Medal of Honor Day, Arlington National Cemetery is hosting a special guided tour on Sunday, focusing on Medal of Honor recipients buried there and the history of the Medal of Honor.