Well-known names to be honored at Medal of Honor gala

Our nation's bravest military heroes will be honored this September in Knoxville, when the Medal of Honor Convention is held from September 10-13. In addition, some well-known names will be honored for their commitment to our country and the men and women who protect it.

Each year, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society holds its annual convention in a different U.S. city, and Knoxville was honored to be selected in 2014. The Medal of Honor is the nation's highest military honor.

More information on the Medal of Honor Convention

The Medal of Honor Knoxville Convention Committee announced the recipients of the 2014 Congressional Medal of Honor Society Awards on Thursday evening, and all of them are scheduled to be in attendance at the convention.

The honorees are:

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr., a U.S. Army veteran, will receive the Patriot Award. It is given to those who demonstrate a commitment to American freedom and the ideals embodied within the Medal of Honor.

CBS Sports golf commentator David Feherty will receive the Distinguished Citizen Award. He founded the Troops First Foundation, which assists wounded soldiers coming home from war.

CNN Anchor Jake Tapper will receive the "Tex" McCrary Award for Excellence in Journalism for his reporting of military topics. He wrote a book called "The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor," which tells the story of one of the deadliest American battles in Afghanistan.

Actor and producer Mark Wahlberg will receive the Bob Hope Award for Excellence in Entertainment for his positive portrayal of the military on film. Wahlberg recently portrayed a Navy SEAL in the movie "Lone Survivor."

The recipients will be honored at the Patriot Award Gala during the Medal of Honor Convention in September. No other details have been released.

Finishing touches

Two Medal of Honor recipients have traveled to Knoxville to help with convention planning.

Lt. Col. Harold Fritz received his medal in 1971 for his heroic actions during the Vietnam War. A cigarette lighter in his left breast pocket stopped an enemy bullet from killing him.

He responded to Thursdays announcement saying, "We're looking at those individuals that in their own right made a tremendous contribution to this country."

Lt. Col. Bruce Crandall also served in Vietnam. He put himself in harms way to pull troops off the battlefield. Hollywood featured his story in the movie, "We Were Soldiers." Crandall received his medal in 2007.

"We want them to understand that we're just like they are. The Medal of Honor, we receive this... we didn't win it," he said.

Organizers say this year's convention is 80% planned.


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