U.S. Rep. Ellzey, McNutt Family donate flag to museum

Jan. 31—Congressman Ellzey and the Bill McNutt family recently presented the funeral flag of Hershel "Woody" Williams to the Medal of Honor Museum.

The last Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, Hershel "Woody" Williams had many friends in Central Texas. He presented a Medal of Honor Trophy that goes to the winner of the Ennis-Corsicana football game each fall. He dedicated Gold Star Monuments and served as the Grand Marshall of the Texas Veterans Parade.

On Jan. 18, Congressman Jake Ellzey joined the Bill McNutt family and The State Funeral for World War II Veterans Organization to present the American Flag from the Funeral of the last Medal of Honor holder from WWII, Hershel "Woody" Williams, to the National Medal of Honor Museum in Arlington.

"It was a privilege to join Lee William "Bill" McNutt and his daughter Rabel Josephine McNutt in presenting the flag that had flown over the Capitol to honor the life of Hershel "Woody" Williams." said Congressman Ellzey. "In the 246-year history of our country, no enlisted man had ever lain in honor under the dome of our Capitol. But, on July 14, 2022, American history was changed for the better. Even in death, Woody served his county, for his funeral gave all Americans the opportunity to salute the 16 million men and women who served in our Armed Forces during the Second World War."

Chris Cassidy, a former U.S. Navy Seal, and Astronaut, and current President & CEO of the Medal of Honor Museum Foundation, said this about the addition of the flag to their collection.

"Rabel, Bill and Thomas McNutt could have given this flag to any museum in the country. We were sure glad they donated it to ours." He continued "It's important, as a nation, we make a special effort to preserve and share the lives, the heroism, and the values of Medal of Honor recipients. It's an honor to receive this flag, but it's our solemn obligation to keep the sacrifices of the 'Greatest Generation' and heroes like Hershel 'Woody' Williams fresh in the national memory."

Seal and Astronaut Chris Cassidy will be the Grand Marshall of the Texas Veterans Parade in Corsicana to be held on San Jacinto weekend, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 22, at the Navarro County Courthouse.

"Twenty-six of our 51 state chairman and national leaders traveled to Washington July 14, 2022 for the historic funeral. There was not a dry eye in our delegation as Corporal Woody's flag-draped coffin was carried into the rotunda," said National Chair Bill McNutt.

Vietnam Medal of Honor recipient James McCloughan, a member of the National Board for State Funeral for War Veterans, said, "My friend Woody Williams had two services that day. One in the rotunda of the Capitol and another that afternoon attended by over 1,000 people at the National World War II Memorial. I sang at the afternoon service and Dr. Danny Reeves of Corsicana spoke. These two events served as a final salute to the 16 million men and women who served in the Armed Forces of the United States from 1941-1945."

The beautifully framed flag now resides at the National Medal of Honor Museum across the street from the Dallas Cowboys Stadium. The display includes a letter from Congressman Ellzey to Charlotte Jones, the Chairman of the Museum, and two military challenge coins. One from the USS Hershel "Woody" Williams ship and another from the State Funeral for World War II Veterans organization.

The idea for a State Funeral for the last Medal of Honor recipients from American wars came from an unlikely source, the granddaughter of long time Collin Street Bakery President, L. William McNutt, Jr. He was a World War II Army Sergeant who died in 2006. Rabel McNutt, a Dallas Hockday school student, was preparing to attend the funeral of her Godfather, Walt Ehlers. Ehlers had received his Medal of Honor fighting the Germans in Normandy, France following D-Day in 1944. Rabel and her father had watched military funerals on YouTube. Every Presidential Funeral is a military funeral, since the President is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. Rabel turned to her father, Lee William "Bill" McNutt, and said, "They should do a big State Funeral in Washington D.C. for Uncle Ehlers' Medal of Honor friends."

Five years of work by the State Funeral for World War II Organization was able to convince the Congress to pass legislation to designate a single state funeral for the last Medal of Honor holder from the Second World War. Today, the organization is trying to obtain the same honors for the last MOH hero from the Korean War, Col. Ralph Puckett of Georgia.

The State Funeral for War Veterans Organization is recruiting a board of directors in all 50 states. Patriotic Americans who wish to honor Korean and Vietnam Veterans should contact our National Leadership recruitment chairman, Dr. Danny Reeves of Navarro County, at danny@fbccorsicana.org.