President Donald Trump and both of Tennessee's U.S. Senators are looking to posthumously honor an East Tennessee WWII soldier's heroics.
Tennessee Senators Lamar Alexander and Marsha Blackburn introduced a bill in 2019 that, if passed, would posthumously award U.S. Army Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds with one of the nation's highest honors: the Congressional Gold Medal.
Edmonds, a South Knoxville-native, defied a Nazi officer and helped save the lives of almost 200 Jewish American soldiers, but his story remained hidden in history for more than sixty years until his son began reading his father's journal.
As a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, Edmonds was responsible for 1,275 U.S. service members who had been captured during the Battle of the Bulge and taken as prisoners of war in Germany.
Edmonds saved his fellow Jewish-American soldiers from being singled out at the prisoner camp under his command in an incredible show of solidarity.
A Nazi officer had asked him to identify and separate out the Jewish-American soldiers under his command. Edmonds disregarded the order, and when the officer shouted "They cannot all be Jews," Edmonds replied "We are all Jews here."
The officer had threatened Edmonds' life if he refused again, which Edmonds did refuse stating the Geneva Convention guidelines, at which point the officer turned away and left.
"I do not know of a more inspiring example of the American character than the heroism of this 26-year-old East Tennessee soldier," Sen. Alexander said.
The President retweeted a reply to Sen. Alexander's post Thursday morning he was "Looking at this strongly!"
Edmonds' actions have never been officially recognized by the U.S. government, though Tennessee lawmakers have tried in the past to make that happen.