Honorary Co-Chairs Former President George H.W. Bush General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.)
Medal Of Honor Recipients & Members Of Congress Call Upon American Public To Celebrate ‘Service Before Self’ And Nominate Fellow Citizens For Our Nation’s Most Prestigious Civilian Awards “Above & Beyond Citizen Honors”
Presented on National Medal of Honor Day From The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
“Any Nation That Does Not Honor Its Heroes, Will Not Long Endure.” -Abraham Lincoln
WASHINGTON, DC, (October 10, 2007) PRNewswire
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society, which is solely comprised of the 109 living Medal of
Honor recipients, Honorary Co-chairs Former President George H.W. Bush, General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.), members of the 110th Congress announced Above & Beyond, the Society’s non-partisan “Service before Self” initiative and annual broadcast, and called upon the American public to nominate their fellow citizens for the Above & Beyond Citizen Honors, at a press conference today on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., in honor of the President who created the Medal of Honor.
On hand to support the Society and their Above & Beyond initiative included NFL great Tiki Barber, former Senator Sam Nunn, Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy H.C. Barnum, Jr., Senator John Salazar (D-Co), Congressman Henry Brown (R-SC) and Mrs. Holly Petraeus.
Above & Beyond, co-created by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and David Clark, CEO of EPOP, is historic, as it is the first time all of the living Medal of Honor recipients have banded together to create a national platform to promote “Service before Self.” At the heart of the initiative is the Above & Beyond Citizen Honors, which recognize and honor those ordinary Americans who become extraordinary through their selflessness. The Above & Beyond Citizen Honors are unique, because they are presented to unsung heroes by our nations most honored heroes, all of the living Medal of Honor recipients themselves.
“We hope that this unique honor will help establish, support and recognize the profound notion that within each and every person lies the potential to challenge one’s own destiny and change the world.” said Paul Bucha, a Medal of Honor recipient and Above & Beyond designate from the Society. “The Medal of Honor recipients are ordinary people who, one time in their lives, faced circumstances when they decided that destiny, as they understood it to be, was unacceptable. They found within themselves the potential to literally change fate. This same potential resides in every American and it is worthy of respect and celebration without the need of a medal or a uniform.”
The press conference announced the launch of the annual Above & Beyond Citizen Honors initiative on National Medal of Honor Day on March 25, 2008. Our nation’s greatest heroes encouraged the American public to nominate their fellow citizens who have inspired them through individual stories of courage and service.
“It is an honor to represent the Society and their Above & Beyond initiative,” said Honorary Co-Chair General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.). “Through the telling of these heroic stories of American citizens and Medal of Honor recipients, Above & Beyond will seek to remind the nation, especially its youth, that a hero is not necessarily an actor, sports figure or rock star whose worth is measured by ticket sales or fame. Rather, a hero can be someone just like them.”
“I am proud to take part in this announcement and celebration. The Above & Beyond Citizen Honors recognizes the notion that regular Americans – no matter what their background or circumstances — have the potential to change the world through acts of selflessness and courage,” said Honorary Co-Chair & Former President George H.W. Bush. “I believe that the determination and selflessness of these ordinary American citizens who will be celebrated and saluted by our nations greatest heroes, will guide, inspire and help unite us as Americans, as we move into the next Century.”
“It is a pleasure and a privilege to work with the Society to build this historic initiative on the foundation of the Medal of Honor and Abraham Lincoln who created it. By identifying and celebrating unsung heroes across this nation, they are, in the words of President Lincoln, appealing to ‘the better angels of our nature,'” said David Clark, Chief Executive Officer of EPOP International and Co-creator and Executive Producer of Above & Beyond.
After a nationwide search and selection process for the Above & Beyond Citizen Honors, the Society will select 50 Finalists to represent their respective states. From these remarkable Americans, the Society will announce three Above & Beyond Citizen Honors recipients at the show, and their remarkable stories of hope and courage will be broadcast to the nation.
To highlight this national selection process, each of the 50 Above & Beyond Citizen Honors Finalists will be invited to the Above & Beyond Gala in Washington, D.C. to represent their state. Prior to the televised show, short videos on each of the 50 finalists will be available on the Above & Beyond website, along with extended video packages of the three Above & Beyond Citizen Honors recipients.
THE MEDAL OF HONOR
Created by Abraham Lincoln in 1861, the Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force, which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the United States Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. To receive this rare honor, the President of the United States must approve it after a long and rigorous consideration process, and then presents it personally to the recipient in the name of Congress. Since the birth of our nation, over 40 million Americans have faced combat, yet only 3,463 have received our nations highest honor for combat — the Medal of Honor.
THE CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR SOCIETY
The Congressional Medal Of Honor Society is chartered by Congress, and regarded as the most exclusive organization in our country, as its membership is solely made up of living Medal of Honor recipients. Today there are only 109 members, who come from all social classes, race and economic levels. They range in age from 57 to 97, and live in all areas of our Country. No amount of money, power or influence can buy one’s rite of passage to this exclusive circle, and unlike almost any other organization, this group’s members hope that there will be no more inductees. Beyond this attitude towards recruitment, about also share a passionate love for the United States of America and have the distinct honor of wearing our Nation’s highest award for military valor, The Medal of Honor. For more information, visit www.cmohs.org
THE CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR FOUNDATION
The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to perpetuate the Medal of Honor’s legacy of courage, sacrifice and patriotism. The Foundation supports the objectives, activities and programs of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, and raises funds for initiatives such as Above & Beyond, that promote what the Medal of Honor represents. For more information, visit www.cmohfoundation.org
Above & Beyond Co-creator and Executive Producer David Clark founded EPOP which is unique, as it is solely dedicated to creating and producing cause-related properties in all forms of media. In 2002, EPOP worked with President Nelson Mandela to create the “46664” HIV/AIDS concert in South Africa. Globally broadcast on MTV, the landmark event featured performances by Bono, Beyonce, Queen, The Corrs and Peter Gabriel. In 2005 EPOP created the “Anne Frank 75th Birthday Tribute” with Anne’s cousin and only living family member Buddy Elias. Miep Gies, 97, the remarkable woman who hid the Frank family for over two years and later found Anne’s diary, participated as an event Chair, along with President’s Clinton and Carter, as well as Senator’s Clinton, Obama and Dole. Performers included Whoopi Goldberg, Richard Gere, Natalie Portman, Cindy Lauper, Lou Reed, Laura Linney and more.