Salem VA Medical Center hosts Medal of Honor unveiling, ceremony

By Shawn Nowlin 


Veterans from different military branches, their loved ones, VA personnel, and community residents throughout the Roanoke Valley were all present on March 24 at the Salem VA Medical Center for a ribbon-cutting ceremony honoring the facility’s new Medal of Honor Recognition Wall. 

The recipients, all 18 of them, are connected to the 26-county area that the Salem VA Healthcare System serves. Their names are Archer Gammon (Chatham), Audie Murphy (near Roanoke), Charles Anderson (Staunton), Forrester Taylor (Lynchburg), Henry Wills (Grayson County), Wesley Fox (Blacksburg), Charles Morris (Galax), William Woodall (Lynchburg), Desmond Doss (Lynchburg), Gary Martini (Lexington), Cary Longhorne (Lynchburg), Gary Miller (Covington), Richard Taylor (Staunton), Jimmy Monteith Jr. (Low Moor), Randolph Berkeley (Staunton), Bernard Byrne (Staunton), James Ayers (Collinstown) and Lewis Bausell (Pulaski). 

A 1966 quote attributed to Master Sergeant Marine Richard A. Pittman is plastered above the Medal of Honor Firsts plague: “To be an American comes with many rights, privileges, and responsibilities. It is our duty to honor, defend, and preserve them for future generations.” 

Generous contributions from the Fort Lewis Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution helped turn the dream of the honor wall into a reality. 

Prior to the wall dedication, an in-person Veteran Town Hall occurred in the medical center chapel. Representatives from the Roanoke Regional Veterans Benefits Administration were on hand to answer questions and provide information. 

 “As the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor holds a special place for Veterans,” Salem VA Associate Director Allen Moye said. “It’s important to remember their sacrifice and having a memorial to those with a connection to our area is a visible reminder of who we are, and why we serve.”  

He added, “At the time of his death on June 29, 2022, Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams was the last Medal of Honor recipient of World War II. He is also the namesake for the VA Medical Center in Huntington, West Virginia.” 

A portion of the town hall also recognized Veterans as part of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. “Being part of a ceremony that acknowledges those who lost their lives defending this country was special,” Pam Clarkson said. “I’m elated because the honor wall will bring recognition to such brave individuals. Whether you have one in your family or not, we should all appreciate the sacrifices and commitment of every Veteran, past and present.” 

For more information about the Medal of Honor recipients, visit