KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — One of the most exclusive groups of American heroes will make a return trip to Knoxville this September, and several well-known people will make the trip along with them to accept honors at the Medal of Honor Celebration.
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society announced Tuesday it is awarding its highest individual award, the Patriot Award, to former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. The organization said the award is reserved for people who've distinguished themselves as Americans dedicated to freedom and the ideals of the organization.
“To understand the heart and soul of our country, look no further than the service and sacrifice of our military men and women,” Haley said. “Now, more than ever, we should honor these Medal of Honor Recipients for representing the best of America. I’m proud and humbled to join them this year at the Patriot Award Gala to honor their service.”
Nikki served as the first Indian-American in a presidential cabinet from 2017 to 2018 as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Before that, she served as the first female governor of South Carolina, as well as the first female Asian-American governor in the U.S.
Actor Dennis Quaid will also be honored with the Bob Hope Award, which is reserved for entertainers who have distinguished themselves with outstanding service to the U.S. military or positive portrayal of the military in literature or film. Quaid starred in the award-winning film "The Right Stuff" in 1983, a story that follows seven military pilots selected to be astronauts for the first human spaceflight by the U.S.
Bronze Star recipient and Vietnam veteran Dr. Timothy Miller, a retired plastic and reconstructive surgeon, will be honored with the Distinguished Citizen Award for his service to fellow veterans. Miller co-founded Operation Mend, a program that provides free reconstructive surgery to severely wounded and disfigured veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
The Medal of Honor Celebration is an annual gathering for recipients of the United States' highest military award for valor. It's being held in Knoxville for a second time from September 6 to 10. Knoxville will be the only city other than Boston that has served as a host city for the event more than once.
“It’s going to be big, bigger, and better than it was last time,” said 2022 convention chair Joe Thompson said in an interview with 10News last year.
Knoxville hosted the same convention in 2014 for an elite group of veterans awarded the military’s highest medal for risking their own lives to save others. That year nearly 50 living recipients made the trip to Knoxville.