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Front Page - Friday, January 31, 2020

Medal of Honor Heritage Center opening Feb. 22




Located in downtown Chattanooga at the Aquarium Plaza, the Heritage Center will open to the public Saturday, Feb. 22. - Photo by David Laprad

The Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center will open to the public Saturday, Feb. 22, at 1 p.m. The public is invited to join at least 15 visiting Medal of Honor recipients and numerous national, state and local dignitaries at 10 a.m. for a ribbon-cutting ceremony that will culminate a three-year campaign to build the Heritage Center in Chattanooga – the heart of where the medal’s heritage started nearly 158 years ago.

“Feb. 22 will be an exciting day for our city, state and country as we open the Heritage Center,” said Major General William Raines, U.S. Army (retired) and chairman of the board for the Heritage Center. “In doing so, we have finally secured a national home that will preserve the heritage of the Medal of Honor.

“More importantly, the Heritage Center will serve as a tribute to these American heroes, who represent the best and bravest of all who have served and sacrificed in defense of our nation, and a place that strives to educate the next generation about the character traits associated with their gallantry.”

Located in downtown Chattanooga at the Aquarium Plaza, the new Heritage Center is a 19,000-square-foot facility featuring exhibits that tell the stories of the Medal of Honor recipients and how they exemplify six common character traits: patriotism, citizenship, courage, integrity, sacrifice and commitment.

Self-guided tours of the Heritage Center will be offered from 1-6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Tour tickets may be purchased in advance at www.MOHHC.org/tickets. Special discounts are offered to military and senior citizens and group rates are available.

“We believe the Heritage Center will serve as a testament to what makes Chattanooga special – our great sense of patriotism, purpose and pride,” says Bill Hullander, trustee and chairman of the Grand Opening Committee. “Thanks to our veteran community and philanthropic donors, we have created a place that not only honors Chattanooga’s heritage and military history but will also inspire and encourage future generations of youth with the stories and character traits exemplified by our Medal of Honor recipients.”

“Superheroes are all the rage at the box office, but the Heritage Center will spotlight real superheroes – the ordinary men and women who performed extraordinary acts of valor under the most extreme circumstances,” says Keith Hardison, executive director for the Heritage Center. “Our hope is visitors will see the relevance of these incredible stories and explore how they can impact their communities by emulating these same character traits in their daily actions, whether it be on the playground, in the board room or in everyday life.”

The Heritage Center contains two classrooms and an event space that will be used for Medal of Honor Character Development and Character Club Programs for students, as well as for meetings, social events and other community activities.

The Heritage Center will also have a gallery that will house three to five exhibits per year. The first exhibit, titled “Honoring the Sacrifice: Medals of Honor Through Time,” is slated to open Feb.22 and will feature the stories of Medal of Honor recipients from the Civil War to Vietnam, along with their medals, related artifacts and images.

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Source: Heritage Center