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National Medal of Honor Memorial Sites

The Medal of Honor Memorial design concept commemorates the enormous courage, commitment and sacrifice of our greatest, national military heroes.

The Memorial at Riverside National Cemetery is designed to be a place of solemn dignity and thoughtful remembrance. An open plaza bounded by the flags of 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico representing the home of each Medal of Honor recipient is surrounded by Italian Cypress trees planted in "squads" of nine to represent the platoons of men and women who fought for freedom.

Inside the plaza, the memorial's black granite walls provide permanent testimony to the strength and character demonstrated by each Medal of Honor recipient.

The names of each of the 3,455 Medal of Honor recipients is inscribed on the polished granite. The recipients are listed in decoration date order arranged by conflict period beginning with the Civil War.

Central to the memorial is a dynamic water sculpture that provides visitors a quiet, cool place for reflection. From within the sculpture a series of jets help to create a wall of water, one of the most peaceful and powerful forces of nature. The wall of water symbolizes the armed forces of this nation in its service both in peace time and in war.

An interactive computer kiosk is on permanent display, allowing visitors to learn first hand about the heroic acts of each Medal of Honor recipient.


 About Riverside National Cemetery

More than two million Americans, including veterans of every war and conflict, from the Revolutionary War to the Persian Gulf, are honored by burial in our country's National Cemeteries. As one of the 115 cemeteries in the national cemetery system, Riverside National Cemetery honors veterans with a final resting place and lasting memorial that commemorates their service to our nation.

Those who are interred at Riverside National Cemetery come from every State of the Union. when the cemetery is fully occupied, there will be more than 1,400,000 honored dead interred. This will make Riverside National Cemetery the largest national cemetery in the United States. Among the many veterans buried at Riverside National Cemetery is one of the last Buffalo Soldiers, Woody Strode.

Riverside National Cemetery is the final resting place for two Medal of Honor recipients: Staff Sgt. Ysmael Villegas, United States Army, awarded posthumously for actions in the Philippines during WWII, and Commander (then Pharmacist's Mate First Class), John Henry Balch, United States Navy, for actions in France during WWI.

Staff Sgt. Villegas, with complete disregard for his safety and bullets kicking up the dirt at his feet, charged six enemy foxholes in rapid succession, killing enemy at point blank range before being hit and killed by enemy fire. His heroism led his men to a triumphant attack.

Pharmacist's Mate Balch, under machine-gun and high-explosive fire, voluntarily left his dressing station to succor the wounded as they fell in attack. At great risk, he fearlessly labored unceasingly for 16 hours.


National Medal of Honor Memorial Sites

Click on the Medal of Honor 
to Visit One of the Other National Medal of Honor Memorials On-line
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