At the Chicago convention, more than 50 Medal recipients will attend and meet directly with military, veterans, students, business leaders and the general public in a variety of events. The convention fosters patriotism, and the Chicago host committee is excited to get the local community involved, while honoring and recognizing recipients of the prestigious award.
Activities for the week will include: Commit to Courage Opening Ceremony at Soldier Field on Tuesday, September 15: The convention will commence with this exciting ceremony hosted by Mayor Richard M. Daley including a jump from the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team, a 19 gun salute from the Illinois National Guard and a keynote speech from General James Conway, commandant of the United States Marine Corps. Community Outreach Day on Wednesday, September 16: Many of the Chicago's public schools and JROTC academies will join with other public venues to host visits and interact with Medal of Honor recipients to learn first-hand about the nature of true sacrifice. A day at the ballpark on Thursday, September 17: Medal Recipients will enjoy a day at Wrigley Field as the Chicago Cubs host the Milwaukee Brewers. A Day At Cantigny with Medal of Honor Recipients followed by the 'Commit to Courage' Patriot Award Dinner at the Swissotel Chicago on Saturday, September 19: Actor Gary Sinise ("Forrest Gump", "Apollo 13") will serve as the master of ceremonies at the Patriot Award Dinner where the Society's esteemed awards will be presented. The Patriot Award, recognizing a lifetime of outstanding service to the armed forces, will be presented to Mayor and Mrs. Richard M. Daley; The Tex McCrary Award to journalist and historian Rick Atkinson; The Citizenship Award to Richard Duchossois of Arlington Park; and The Bob Hope Award to Chicago's own, Bill Kurtis "The convention is held each year to further the bond of brotherhood and camaraderie among the living Medal of Honor recipients and their families," explains Rick Stephens, who served as a U.S. Marine and is currently a senior vice president at Boeing. "It is an honor to be able to stand with these heroes while remembering in reverence and respect those who are now deceased or received the Medal of Honor posthumously." The mission of this year's convention is to demonstrate the extreme valor, courage and commitment that these men embody--not only as a testament to their own service in the military but as an inspiration to the communities in which they live. "The level of courage that earns our nation's highest honor for valor under fire comes not from bravado, but from a sense of what's right," said TriWest President and CEO David J. McIntyre, Jr. "The men Chicago honors are all very different, yet they have one thing in common - a commitment to others, even at the risk and cost of their lives. I've learned that through TriWest's association with these men, and it's our privilege and honor to support them and their annual convention."For more information and to find out how to become involved with this once-in-a-lifetime event, please visit CMOH2009Chicago.com
About the Congressional Medal of Honor: The Medal of Honor stands as the nation's highest military award presented for valor in combat. Of the estimated 42 million American's who have served this country in uniform since the Civil War, only 3,447 individuals have received the Medal of Honor and many of those were awarded posthumously. There are today fewer than 100 living recipients. These distinguished veterans have dedicated their lives to providing a better understanding to all citizens about the importance of service over self.