Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

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Harry S. Truman
1945-1953


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Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.
  34. Remarks Before the Congress on Presenting the Medal of Honor to
Sergeant Jake W. Lindsey  
May 21, 1945

Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, Members of the Congress:

We are assembled here today to confer the Nation's highest decoration on a young
American soldier. It so happens that Technical Sergeant Jake W. Lindsey of Lucedale,
Mississippi, is the one hundredth Infantryman to receive the Medal of Honor in this war for
bravery above and beyond the call to duty. Through him, we pay a grateful Nation's tribute to
the courage of all our fighting men.

The history of this war is filled with countless acts of valor by our soldiers and sailors and
marines under fire. Those who win the Medal of Honor have displayed the highest quality of
courage.

We have heard in the citation what Sergeant Lindsey did. His spiring deeds on the battlefield
require no further praise from any man. They stand--with the deeds of the others on whom this
decoration has been conferred--in the finest tradition of American heroism.

This Medal, to repeat, is given for gallantry at the risk of life beyond the call to duty. No officer
ordered Sergeant Lindsey to stand alone against a company of the enemy. No officer ordered
him when wounded to engage eight Germans in hand-to-hand combat. Those decisions came
from his own heart. They were a flash of the nobility which we like to think is a part of every
American. They were the unselfish valor which can triumph over terrible odds. They were the
very essence of victory.

Since the beginning of this war, 223 Medals of Honor have been awarded to members of the
Armed Forces. Of these, 162 have gone to the Army, 33 to the Navy, 27 to the Marine Corps,
and one to the Coast Guard. One hundred of the men so decorated have been Infantrymen, and
of them 50 died in performing the acts for which they were honored.

It seems fitting that in this symbolic ceremony we should honor an infantryman. There is little
glamor in his service. He faces not only the enemy before him, but the cold and the heat, the rain
and the snow, the dust and the mud, which so often makes his life miserable. These. things he
endures, and rises above them to such deeds as those we celebrate today.

This is a proud and moving occasion for every American. It follows the complete victory of our
Allied Forces over a powerful enemy in Europe. It finds us striking devastating blows in the
Pacific. We are preparing to strike them later in overwhelming force.

Before the battle against Japan is won, we shall have other men to. honor--men whose deeds,
like those we celebrate today, will have brought closer our inevitable victory.

I hope that every man and woman in our Nation today will reverently thank God that we have
produced such sons as these. With their high courage as an inspiration, we cannot fail in the task
we have set for ourselves.

It is with gratitude and pride that as President of the United States, and in the name of the
Congress, I have presented this Medal of Honor to Technical Sergeant Jake W. Lindsey.
 
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.