ST. PAUL, Min. – After more than ten years of work, the Minnesota Medal of Honor Memorial has been completed.
Standing at the entrance to the Minnesota State Capitol Campus, the monument was built around the “Promise of Youth” sculpture for a reason.
The monument is 10 years in the making, designed with future generations in mind. Tiffany Kovaleski is co-chair of the memorial council.
“It’s a memorial when you enter the Capitol Mall,” Kovaleski said. “We have taken the promise of youth and placed it at the center of the Minnesota Medal of Honor Memorial so that the generations can continue to pass on the same character, virtues and values that their recipients radiated on those horrific days.”
Carved into the monument are the words that Medal of Honor recipients leave behind as their legacy: courage, dedication, sacrifice, integrity, citizenship and patriotism.
“It brings the next generations and connects them with service, and whether you’ve served in the military or in the past, it’s everyone’s job to have service and character,” Kovaleski said.
The Medal of Honor is the highest and most prestigious military award. Minnesota recipients were commemorated with a crossing of vintage World War II aircraft and a salvo of guns from the country’s oldest active gun battery.
Medal of honor recipient Tom Kelly knew two Minnesota recipients.
“It’s good that their service is being recognized and that the general public can come over here with their children and say, ‘Who were these men?’ And find out that these men were just ordinary people like their children and did extraordinary things,” Kelly said. “And you don’t have to be in combat or the military or first responder to do heroic things and make a difference in someone’s life and show moral courage.”
This monument now carries this message of service, displaying strong character, values and virtue.
A total of 72 Minnesotans have been honored for risking their lives above and beyond the call of duty. There are only 65 Medal of Honor recipients alive in the country today.