New museum exhibit pays tribute to Iowa’s Medal of Honor soldiers

For immediate release June 25, 2006


Contact: Jeff Morgan,, (515) 281-3858

(DES MOINES) – Iowa soldiers who have received the nation’s highest military award will be honored in a new exhibit to be unveiled Friday at the State Capitol.

“Iowa’s Medal of Honor Heroes,” a permanent state-of-the-art multimedia kiosk created by the State Historical Society of Iowa, will be unveiled at 4 p.m. Friday in the State Capitol Rotunda. The Medal of Honor is given for distinguished gallantry during hostile action and is presented by the President of the United States in the name of Congress. Authorized in 1861 by President Abraham Lincoln, the Medal of Honor has recognized the valor and sacrifice of 108 Iowans in 10 major conflicts. Fewer than 3,500 soldiers have received the award, more than half of them posthumously.

“As Iowans prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July, we invite them to join us at the State Capitol to unveil this exhibit in tribute to Iowa’s Medal of Honor recipients,” said Anita Walker, director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, which oversees the State Historical Society of Iowa. “Their stories of courage and bravery are powerful and inspiring, and leave little question as to why they are called the bravest of the brave.”

The Medal of Honor project began in 2004 with legislative action sponsored by Senator Dennis Black, (D-District 21). With Black’s research at the core of the project, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs compiled the history of 108 Medal of Honor recipients associated with Iowa. Friday’s event will recognize them and their families at the State Capitol, including Sioux City native Colonel George “Bud” Day (retired).

Day enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at age 17 and saw three years of active duty in the Pacific theater during World War II. As a civilian, Day earned his law degree and was recalled to active duty, trained as a fighter pilot and served during the Korean Conflict. In 1967, he was in command of a squadron during the Vietnam War when he was shot down and endured more than five years of prison in North Vietnam. He received the Medal of Honor from President Gerald Ford in 1976, nearly three years after he was released from a North Vietnamese prison.

The public is invited to join the State Historical Society of Iowa as it unveils one of the state’s most patriotic exhibits. No reservations necessary. Call 515-281-5111 for more information.

The unveiling of the exhibit and battle flag will be held in conjunction with the Des Moines Symphony’s Yankee Doodle Pops, a free, outdoor concert at the State Capitol presented by Bank of the West. The Iowa National Guard will also participate in the activities. Following is the full schedule for Friday’s events:

3:30 p.m.

Guests, Medal of Honor recipients and their relatives and the public assemble in State Capitol Rotunda.

4 p.m.

“Iowa’s Medal of Honor Heroes” and Civil War Battle Flag unveiling in State Capitol Rotunda, including Iowa National Guard Presentation of Colors, bagpipes and salute.

5 p.m.

Private reception at State Historical Building for Medal of Honor recipients and their relatives and Iowa National Guard representatives.

5 p.m. (Southwest Terrace of State Historical Building)

Blues Before Sunset concert featuring Kevin “B.F.” Burt & The Instigators

5:30 p.m.

Private tour of State Historical Museum Battle Flag Preservation Laboratory for Medal of Honor recipients and their relatives.

6:30 p.m.

Susie Miget Group/Metro Arts Jazz in July, west side of the State Capitol, free and open to the public.

7:30 p.m.

EXCLUSIVE VIEWING PARTY in conjunction with Yankee Doodle Pops at the State Historical Building. A gourmet picnic and V.I.P. view of fireworks certain to spark the patriotic spirit. Reserve a spot by e-mailing or calling 515-280-4017.

8:30 p.m. (west side of State Capitol)

Presentation of Colors

Star Spangled Banner

Iowa National Guard Flyover

Des Moines Symphony Yankee Doodle Pops Concert

Fireworks Display

Vendors selling a variety of foods and drinks will be stationed on the north and south end of Finkbine Street between Walnut Street and Grand Avenue. The orchestra will perform on a stage facing the Capitol from Finkbine Street. Fireworks will be shot off over the downtown skyline, from the Locust Street bridge at the conclusion of the concert. Parking is available in designated downtown lots. A drop off for people who need assistance will be on the corner of Grand Avenue and East 9th Street.

The State Historical Society of Iowa is a trustee of Iowa’s historical legacy and an advocate for understanding Iowa’s past. It identifies, records, collects, preserves, manages and provides access to Iowa’s historical resources. Its dual mission of preservation and education serves Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state. Please visit or call 515-281-5111 for more information.


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