The Fighting Roosevelts


General Theodore Roosevelt’s funeral in Normandy 5 months after D-Day

From by Todd Arrington:

In all of American history, millions of men and women have served in the nation’s armed forces. Of those many millions, only 3,517 have received the nation’s highest award for military valor: the Medal of Honor. The Medal is sometimes referred to as the Congressional Medal of Honor because it is awarded “in the name of Congress,” but “Medal of Honor” is the correct designation. Only twice have a father and son both received the award. The first father-son recipients were Arthur and Douglas MacArthur for actions in the Civil War and World War II, respectively. The other father-son tandem includes the only President of the United States to receive the Medal: Theodore Roosevelt, who received it for his actions in the Spanish-American War; and his son, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., for fighting on D-Day in World War II.

A young Abraham Lincoln once lamented that his generation had nothing to accomplish that could ever eclipse the glory of the Founding Fathers. He was wrong, both about his generation and certainly about his own role in American history. Similarly, Theodore Roosevelt, born in 1858, revered the men who fought and won the Civil War for the Union and worried that he would never have a similar chance to prove himself in the “manliest” test of all: combat. Roosevelt had views on masculinity and the romantic appeal of war that seems antiquated and even naïve to us now, but both they, and an idealized remembrance of the Civil War, were commonplace in the era in which he lived. Even as he got older, TR advocated for the “vigorous life” and regularly pushed himself to overachieve in both the physical and political realms.

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Categories: World War II

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