Military Heroes

 

The story of America is about the countless men and women who give up their own comfort, the company of their loved ones, and sometimes their lives, in service to our nation.

From the Revolutionary War to the worldwide fight against ISIS, in times of both war and peace, military personnel endure hardship so Americans can enjoy peace and freedom. Yet, because these men and women often serve in anonymity, their stories of sacrifice and dedication to duty can be lost forever. By creating and sharing a permanent record of their service, current and future generations gain insights and inspiration.

As a proud member of a military family, you will benefit by joining Americans All, a program of the 31-year-old nonprofit People of America Foundation. This program uses legacy stories to highlight the contributions and common experiences of all Americans. We want to uphold our nation’s values of diversity, tolerance and acceptance by investing more than half of membership fees to provide inclusive social studies instructional resources that also help students succeed in our democracy, economy and workforce. Some of the classroom resources inform students about how military personnel have protected and served our nation.

A legacy story can be presented in text and through photographs, home movies and other video and audio recordings. It can also be published in multiple languages and include hyperlinks to other Web sites important to the honoree. The Heritage Honor Roll may contain more than one legacy story for an individual or a group—or the legacy story may appear in more than one language—because members have opted to recognize different contributions of the same individual or group or wanted to share the story in their native language.

We encourage each service branch and unit to create its own Legacy Partner home page to provide further exposure for the legacy stories of military personnel affiliated with their branch and/or unit.

Legacy Stories from the Americans All Heritage Honor Roll

We are pleased to host and share these legacy stories created by honorees’ family, friends and associates. They, like us, appreciate that heritage and culture are an integral part of our nation's social fabric and want to help students participate effectively in our nation's economy, workforce and democracy.

Language
State
Last Name of Individual
First Name of Individual
Group name

Alamo, The Texas (February 23, 1836 - March 6, 1836) Irish, Historic Military Garrison

The Irish National Flag stands in a place of honor inside The Alamo in recognition of the largest ethnic group to defend that icon of independence. Renowned Author, James Michener, once said The Irish gave Texas it's basic character. If Texas character is one of determination and bravery, then the celebrated scribe hit the nail right on the head. Irishmen and women have played pivotal roles in the Lone Star State . . . 

American Revolutionary War Pennsylvania (c.1754 - c.1788) Irish, American History, Revolutionary War

When America was born, the Irish were there!  The Irish, both Protestant and Catholic, were a major part of Washington’s volunteers from foot soldiers to high ranking officers. When increased Crown exploitation drove the colonists to protest, among the loudest were the Irish who had no great love for the Crown to begin with. And there were many immigrant Irish in America’s colonies.

Civil War: Andersonville Angel, Irish History Georgia (c.1802 - February 6, 1871) American History, Civil War, Irish Catholic Priest, Prison

Rev. Peter Whelan, administrator of the Savannah diocese, distinguished himself as a chaplain for the Montgomery Guards, an Irish company in the First Georgia Volunteer Regiment, named for one of America’s earliest heroes—Irish-born Revolutionary General Richard Montgomery.  In 1862, The Montgomery Guards were bombed into surrender by Union forces and though he was offered freedom, Rev. Whelan chose to remain with the prisoners.

Civil War: Battle of Antietam, Irish History Maryland (September 17, 1862 - September 22, 1862) Revolutionary War Battle, American History, Irish

The bloodiest day in American history took place during the Civil War and the Irish had a major part in the Union victory that day. It took place at Antietam on September 17, 1862, and it was the victory that emboldened President Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. Foremost among Union forces was the Irish Brigade led by Irish-born Gen. Thomas F Meagher.

Civil War: Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, 54th Massachusetts (March 13, 1863 - August 4, 1865) Carney, Glory, Hallowell, Medal of Honor, Military, Shaw, Fort Wagner

On January 26, 1863, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton authorized Massachusetts Governor John Albion. Andrew to create volunteer companies of artillery "for duty in the forts of Massachusetts and elsewhere, and such corps of infantry for the volunteer military service as he may find convenient.

Lucian Adams Texas (October 26, 1922 - March 31, 2003) Medal of Honor Recipient, World War II, Veteran, Hispanic

Lucian Adams, Medal of Honor recipient and son of Lucian Adams, Sr., and Rosa (Ramírez) Adams, was born in Port Arthur, Texas, on October 26, 1922. The Adams family consisted of nine brothers and three sisters. Eight of his brothers served in World War II, and all returned home safe after the war. Lucian attended schools in Port Arthur . . . but dropped out of high school to help support his family.

Patrick "Paddy" Colvin Pennsylvania (? - ?) Irish, Patriot, River Ferry Master, American History, Revolutionary War

A number of Irishmen were key to Washington’s success in crossing the Delaware River to take Trenton. Among them were two immigrants: Paddy Colvin and Sam McConkey, who ran two river ferries. Patrick Colvin of Co. Cavan, Ireland bought a ferry and land on the river in 1772 when Morrisville, PA was known as Colvin's Ferry.

Honorable Jefferson Finis Davis Mississippi (June 3, 1808 - December 6, 1889) Scottish-Irish, Veteran, Politician, U.S. Congress, Mexican War, U.S. Secretary of War,  President of the Confederate States of America

Jefferson Davis’ life includes being a West Point graduate, a U.S. Representative and Senator, a Mexican War hero and a U.S. Secretary of War.  He also served as the only President of the Confederate States of America for which he was indicted for treason—but never tried—and imprisoned for two years. On October 17, 1978, a joint resolution passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Jimmy Carter restored Davis' citizenship, effective December 25, 1868.

Brendan Fitzgerald Maryland (March 16, 1967 - ?) Management and Program Analyst, Veteran, Service Dog, PTSD

Marine Corps veteran Brendan Fitzgerald and his dog Russell offer hope and courage to veterans, their families, and others struggling to overcome trauma. Russell became the first service dog to “report for duty” at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

George Alfred Harrison Maryland (September 14, 1918 - October 20, 1987) England, Military Officer

September 3, 1939—“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." My father had just been admitted to law school, and Great Britain had just declared war on Germany. September 4, 1939, was his 21st birthday. Overwhelmed by patriotic fever, he declined law school and joined the Royal Air Force (RAF).

Sam Houston Texas (March 2, 1793 - July 26, 1863) Irish, Ireland, Catholic, Houston, Veteran, Politician

Sam Houston was born on March 2, 1793, the fifth child of Samuel and Elizabeth (Paxton) Houston, Rockbridge County, Virginia. He was of Scots-Irish ancestry and reared Presbyterian. His father died when he was thirteen, and in the spring of 1807, he emigrated with his mother, five brothers, and three sisters to Blount County in Eastern Tennessee, establishing a farm near Maryville.

Honorable Edward Moore "Teddy" Kennedy Massachusetts (February 22, 1932 - August 25, 2009) Irish, Catholic. Ireland, Politician, U.S. Senator

Edward M. Kennedy, born February 22, 1932, to Joseph Patrick and Rose (Fitzgerald) Kennedy in Boston, MA., was, at his death, the third longest-serving member of the U.S. Senate in American history, having been elected to the Senate nine times. He called health care “the cause of my life,” and succeeded in bringing quality and affordable health care for countless Americans, including children, seniors and Americans with disabilities.

Honorable John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy Massachusetts (May 29, 1917 - November 22, 1963) Irish, Catholic, Ireland, Politician, Author, War Hero, President of the U.S.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was named in honor of his mother Rose’s father, John Francis Fitzgerald, the Boston Mayor popularly known as Honey Fitz. Before long, family and friends called this small blue-eyed baby, Jack. He was not a very healthy baby, and Rose recorded on his notecard [which she kept for each child] the childhood diseases from which he suffered, such as: "whooping cough, measles, chicken pox."

Honorable Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy Massachusetts (November 20, 1925 - June 6, 1968) Irish, Catholic, Ireland, Politician, U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Senator

Robert Francis Kennedy was born on November 20, 1925, in Brookline, Massachusetts, the seventh child in the closely knit and competitive family of Rose and Joseph P. Kennedy. "I was the seventh of nine children," he later recalled, "and when you come from that far down you have to struggle to survive."

Honorable John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy: Presidential Years Massachusetts (May 29, 1917 - November 22, 1963) Irish, Catholic, Ireland, Politician, War Hero, Author, Member of Congress, President of the U.S.

John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy, often referred to by his initials JFK was an American War hero, served as a Democratic member of the U.S. House and Senate and then elected as the 35th president of the United States, serving from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. He was the author of three books, A Nation of Immigrants, Profiles in Courage and Why England Slept.

Senator Joseph Raymond McCarthy Wisconsin (November 14, 1908 - May 2, 1957) Irish, Catholic, Ireland, Politician, U.S. Senator

Early summer, 1954, was a heady time in Washington D.C. In the weeks following the historic Supreme Court ruling against segregation in public schools, the anti-communism crusade of Irish American Senator Joseph Raymond McCarthy began to unravel. Ten days after the dramatic humiliation of McCarthy on national television, U.S. Senator Lester C. Hunt shot himself—one victim of McCarthy’s witch-hunt.

Senator Joseph Raymond McCarthy: Appleton's Hometown (Anti) Hero Wisconsin (November 14, 1908 - May 2, 1957) U.S. Senator

Jerald Podair, professor of history and the Robert S. French Professor of American Studies at Lawrence University, became interested in Joseph McCarthy in 1998 when he moved to McCarthy’s hometown of Appleton, Wisconsin. His views McCarthy’s story as a paradoxical mix of American triumph and tragedy began at that point. This presentation, titled  Joseph McCarthy: Appleton's Hometown (Anti) Hero, was made to the Appleton Historical Society, September 12, 2018.

Robert S. McNamara District of Columbia (June 9, 1916 - July 6, 2009) Irish, Ireland, Businessman, U.S. Secretary of Defense

Defense issues, including the missile gap, played a prominent role in the campaign of 1960. President-elect John F. Kennedy, very much concerned with defense matters although lacking former President Dwight D. Eisenhower's mastery of the issues, first offered the post of secretary of defense to former secretary Robert A. Lovett. When Lovett declined, Kennedy chose Robert S. McNamara on Lovett's recommendation.

Lt. Gen. Harold Gregory "Hal" Moore Colorado (February 13, 1922 - February 10, 2017) Veteran, Vietnam War, Author

Born in Bardstown, Kentucky, Lt. Gen. Harold Gregory “Hal” Moore moved to Washington, DC, where he completed his high school education. He attended The George Washington University (GWU) for two years before receiving his appointment to the United States Military Academy.

Admiral Chester William Nimitz Sr. Texas (February 24, 1885 - February 20, 1966) German, Veteran, Navy Fleet Admiral, Fredericksburg

Chester William Nimitz, who guided Allied forces to victory in the Pacific in World War II, was born in Fredericksburg, Texas, on February 24, 1885, the son of Chester Bernard and Anna (Henke) Nimitz. His father died before he was born. During his early years his grandfather Charles H. Nimitz, a German immigrant, former seaman and owner of the Nimitz Hotel, served as the father figure whom Nimitz credited with shaping his character and values.