Washington Place welcomes Medal of Honor recipients

Published: Oct. 3, 2012 at 2:33 AM HST|Updated: Oct. 3, 2012 at 3:20 AM HST
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Ronald Rosser
Ronald Rosser
Ronald Rosser
Ronald Rosser
Sammy Davis
Sammy Davis
Drew Dix
Drew Dix

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Governor Neil Abercrombie welcomed more than 50 of the nation's 81 living Medal of Honor recipients at Washington Place on Tuesday night. They earned their awards for valor in combat from World War II through the current conflict in Afghanistan.

Time marches on, slowly taking its toll on Ronald Rosser, but the 73-year-old Ohio resident didn't want to miss this chance to reunite with his Medal of Honor brothers in Hawaii.

"Kind of scares you when you're young. You almost feel like you don't belong here with this group, but you grow into it," said Rosser. "I have to tell you the truth. We've all felt that way."

Rosser received his award at the age of 22 for charging up an enemy-held hill in the Korean War.

"The Chinese were waiting on us. There were 170 of us and three battalions of them which means they outnumbered us better than 10 to 1," Rosser recalled. "I guess it's called a miracle that I came out of it."

Recipient Sammy Davis is known as the "Real Forrest Gump." The famous film uses footage of his Medal of Honor ceremony with Tom Hanks' head instead of Davis'.

"There are other portions of the movie that lightly touch my life, but the only thing based on fact is the military portion of the movie and that is based on me and my life," Davis said.

Davis earned his medal for his heroism in Vietnam.

"There were 42 of us artillery men, 1,500 of the enemy. They thought because of our young age and our small numbers that when they stood up and ran at us, we would turn and run off," said Davis.

Due to the nature of the medal, most of them are awarded posthumously. The number of living recipients is also dwindling, with not as many medals being awarded during the nation's recent wars.

"The fact that there aren't as many, well there's I believe 11, most of them are posthumous," said recipient Drew Dix. "It's the nature of the war, and in some cases, there aren't the eyewitnesses available."

The convention wraps up on Saturday. Other activities this week include a book signing, school visits, and a dedication at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

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