Medal of Honor recipients share character development stories at Sweetwater High
Two Medal of Honor recipients spoke to students at Sweetwater High School on Wednesday morning about character development.
SWEETWATER, Tenn. (WVLT) - Two Medal of Honor recipients spoke to students at Sweetwater High School on Wednesday morning about character development.
The Medal of Honor character development program has six pillars: citizenship, commitment, courage, integrity, patriotism and sacrifice.
“The thing is you don’t ever want to give up,” Medal of Honor Recipient and Vietnam War veteran, Melvin Morris, said during his speech on commitment. “We’re letting our youth know what it takes to be a patriot in a great America. We’re here to ensure that they continue our legacy.”
It was a message that resonated with students like Wesley Bean, a senior.
“I think that commitment is a good lesson for all of us to learn about today,” Bean explained, recognizing it can help him in the classroom, on the football field and in other aspects of his life.
Senior, Makinli Taylor felt inspired by Medal of Honor recipient Jim McCloughan’s story about integrity.
“I saved 10 Americans and one Vietnamese interpreter, but I got a letter, about two years ago and it went like this: you don’t know me and I don’t know you, but you saved my grandpa in 1969,” McCloughan shared. “My mom was born in 1970 at Fort Knox, Kentucky and I was born in 1991. And last week my wife and I had a baby boy. And because of you I will celebrate Father’s Day this Sunday. I read that to Chérie [his wife] with tears in my eyes and she said you didn’t save 11 people, you saved 11 family trees.”
Taylor said, “I think it was a real honor to have them here, especially in such a small town because we don’t get much excitement.”
Many lessons from these brave men’s speeches inspired Taylor, who plans to follow in her great-grandfather’s shoes and join the Army after college.
“Hearing them talk about the struggles they went through and the things they overcame really encouraged me to just, you know, not be afraid to take those chances and take those steps,” Taylor explained.
“We hope they take our pillars of courage, commitment, sacrifice, integrity, citizenship and also patriotism and that they use those pillars to build the best person that they can possibly be,” McCloughan said.
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