The South Carolina House and Senate gave their unanimous support Tuesday to a plan to create a new National Medal of Honor Museum at Patriots Point in the Charleston Harbor.
They presented a concurrent resolution of support to Maj. Gen. James Livingston, USMC (Ret.), himself a Medal of Honor recipient and a member of the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation incorporating board.
The state legislature's support is important in getting a Congressional designation for the Patriots Point site to be the one and only official National Medal of Honor Museum.
There's already a Medal of Honor exhibit aboard the USS Yorktown at Patriots Point.
Once the site has the official designation from Congress, the foundation can start raising the roughly $100 million to build the museum.
Gettysburg is also trying to get the Medal of Honor Museum. But Livingston says, “The Medal of Honor started during the Civil War. The Civil War started in Charleston, South Carolina, and I think it's just a reflection of that legacy.”
The museum itself is expected to attract about 200,000 visitors a year, giving a boost to the state's tourism economy. But Livingston says it means a lot more than that.
“There's only 80 living recipients. The average age is about 78 years old, and I think this is important that young Americans have a chance to reflect and see that legacy, about spirit of sacrifice and what the award really means to all those who have served,” he says.
Livingston was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery in Vietnam.
You can read about his actions at the Congressional Medal of Honor website at http://www.cmohs.org/recipient-detail/3346/livingston-james-e.php.
There are 29 South Carolina residents who've received the Medal of Honor, and another four natives of the state who received it.
Once the official designation is received, Livingston says the hope is to have the museum built and open within five years.