McQueeney: Medal of Honor Bowl about much more than football

01/02/2014 12:00 AM

12/31/2013 5:52 PM

Heroes are not always obvious. Take the members of the Medal of Honor Bowl committee, who started working 105 days before kickoff to bring this inaugural college all-star game together. The game will be played on Saturday, Jan. 11, at The Citadel’s Johnson Hagood Stadium in Charleston — the first ever bowl game hosted in the state. More heroes stepped up, across myriad cultures and backgrounds.

Retired Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston, one of 78 living Medal of Honor recipients, serves as the bowl’s honorary chairman. He served another key role: He believed in us. In September, he took our proposal to the National Medal of Honor Society meeting in Gettysburg, Penn., where it was approved by the most amazing heroes of our time. We became the first organization in the 150-year history of the Medal of Honor to be allowed to use its revered name. With that distinction came a profound fiduciary responsibility.

The bowl week will consist of an NFL coaches luncheon, a Fellowship of Christian Athletes breakfast, a Wounded Warriors’ luncheon, player interaction events for signings, and a Medal of Honor black tie celebration featuring Hill Street Blues actor Ed Marinaro — formerly of the Minnesota Vikings. Our halftime entertainment will feature perhaps the best marching band in America, the Marching 101 Band from S.C. State University.

The game will host our men and women in uniform representing every branch of service and every base in South Carolina, to promote our theme of patriotism. The Wounded Warriors will attend as our honored guests. The Wounded Warriors Project, along with the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation, have been designated as the beneficiaries of this effort.

Finally, our respect and appreciation is heightened by the presence of so many recipients of our nation’s highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor. They wear a distinctive ribbon of blue with a service-specific medal. Bravery in the face of great harm or death has defined them. They will be with us at the game because they believe in us. In a magnificent way, the whirlwind of activity to make this game a reality is because we believe in them.

W. Thomas McQueeney

Chairman, Medal of Honor Bowl

Mt. Pleasant

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