Courage - The Greatest of All Virtues

This Day in History

The Medal of Honor was created by Congress on this day in 1862. Below is the story of one of its more famous recipients.

One of the most famous men in the world gave his name to his eldest son. The father was a warrior, a powerful national leader, a world famous traveler, hunter, writer, and historian. The son knew he could never match his father’s accomplishments, but did try to follow his examples of character, fortitude, and bravery.

Medal of Honor

A wounded veteran of World War I and a successful businessman, the son quickly joined the American army to fight against the Axis powers in World War II. He rose to the rank of Brigadier General and fought with distinction in North Africa and Italy.

On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the man with the famous name was the highest ranking American officer to charge ashore in the first wave on Utah Beach.

Despite the fact that he suffered from a heart condition and debilitating arthritis (he needed the aid of a cane just to walk), he stood fearlessly in the midst of deadly shot and shell raining down on his position. He bravely led his troops to their assignments, moving to and fro across the beach to rally his men.

He did no less than his famous family expected and was awarded the “Congressional Medal of Honor.” His name was Teddy Roosevelt, Junior.

Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. on his "Rough Rider" Jeep

Following is Theodore Roosevelt Jr’s. Medal of Honor Citation:

“For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 6 June 1944, in France. After 2 verbal requests to accompany the leading assault elements in the Normandy invasion had been denied, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt’s written request for this mission was approved and he landed with the first wave of the forces assaulting the enemy-held beaches. He repeatedly led groups from the beach, over the seawall and established them inland. His valor, courage, and presence in the very front of the attack and his complete unconcern at being under heavy fire inspired the troops to heights of enthusiasm and self-sacrifice. Although the enemy had the beach under constant direct fire, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt moved from one locality to another, rallying men around him, directed and personally led them against the enemy. Under his seasoned, precise, calm, and unfaltering leadership, assault troops reduced beach strong points and rapidly moved inland with minimum casualties. He thus contributed substantially to the successful establishment of the beachhead in France.”

In January of 2001, President Bill Clinton posthumously awarded Theodore Roosevelt, Jr’s. father, Teddy Roosevelt, the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions at San Juan Hill, Cuba during the Spanish American War, making them only one of two father and sons to be bestowed such a high honor. 

The other tandem? Arthur MacArthur (Civil War) and his son Douglass MacArthur (WWII).


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