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
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
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.
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.