End of an era: The last of the 472 WWII Medal of Honor recipients has died
· Jun 29, 2022 · NottheBee.com

We are truly in a new age – one sorely in need of heroes like Woody Williams.

Hershel W. "Woody" Williams, the last remaining Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, whose heroics under fire over several crucial hours at the Battle of Iwo Jima made him a legend in his native West Virginia, died Wednesday. He was 98.

Williams' foundation announced on Twitter and Facebook that he died at the Veterans Affairs medical center bearing his name in Huntington.

"Today, America lost not just a valiant Marine and a Medal of Honor recipient, but an important link to our Nation's fight against tyranny in the Second World War," U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement. "I hope every American will pause to reflect on his service and that of an entire generation that sacrificed so much to defend the cause of freedom and democracy."

Williams went ahead of his entire division in February 1945 to destroy Japanese machine guns in one of the bloodiest battles of the war.

Williams' actions in battle to clear the way for American tanks and infantry were detailed on the military's Medal of Honor website: He was "quick to volunteer his services when our tanks were maneuvering vainly to open a lane for the infantry through the network of reinforced concrete pillboxes, buried mines, and black volcanic sands. Williams daringly went forward alone to attempt the reduction of devastating machinegun fire from the unyielding positions."

Facing small-arms fire, Williams fought for four hours, repeatedly returning to prepare demolition charges and obtain flamethrowers.

You can listen to Woody detail his actions in this interview from last year.

They don't build men like this anymore, folks. We're all stumbling to even remember how to be this brave. We certainly don't remember what it means to be this faithful and humble.

There were 472 recipients of the Medal of Honor in WWII. They are all but dust and echoes now.

It's up to us to rekindle the torch they left behind.

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