Harry S. Truman photo

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.

Harry S Truman, Remarks Before the Congress on Presenting the Medal of Honor to Sergeant Jake W. Lindsey Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233244

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