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Seven Blackhawk helicopters swooped down on Boston Common today and each delivered a hero to the city. They arrived separately but are joined together by an uncommon bond.

They have received the highest military honor bestowed. The Medal of Honor.

The dramatic arrival was fit for seven of the more than 78 courageous living recipients of The Medal of Honor including those who have fought in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan. The men descended and were greeted by applause as they made their way to the State House for an event hosted by Governor Charlie Baker.

This week the Congressional Medal of Honor Society is holding its annual convention in Boston.  Approximately 42 of the 78 living recipients – including two from Massachusetts – will be taking part in various activities including local school visits, an autograph session, and awards gala.

Governor Baker along with Lieutenant Governor Polito, and Secretary of Veterans’ Services, Francisco Ureña, welcomed the recipients and the convention, which is in Boston for the third time, and thanked them for their service to our nation.

The Medal of Honor Society was chartered by Congress in 1985 and its membership includes all living recipients. It exists to maintain a bond between those living recipients, promote patriotism, remember and preserve the memory of recipients who have died, and to provide assistance to the families of these Medal recipients.

Lieutenant Thomas Hudner receiving the Medal of Honor from President Truman in 1951 Photo: Naval History & Heritage Command

Lieutenant Thomas Hudner receiving the Medal of Honor from President Truman in 1951 Photo: Naval History & Heritage Command

Massachusetts currently has three living recipients of the Medal of Honor: Thomas J. Hudner, Thomas G. Kelley, and Ryan Pitts. Both Thomas Hudner and Thomas Kelley served the Department of Veterans’ Services as Commissioner and Secretary, respectively. To learn more about the recipients from Massachusetts, visit the 2015 Convention website.

Lieutenant Thomas Kelley receiving the Medal of Honor from President Nixon in 1970

Lieutenant Thomas Kelley receiving the Medal of Honor from President Nixon in 1970

Hudner received the Medal of Honor in 1951 for his selfless actions during the Korean War to save his fellow pilot, Jesse Brown. He then served as the Department of Veterans’ Services Commissioner between 1991 and 1999, until fellow Medal of Honor recipient, Kelley, took over as Secretary for the Department. Kelley was awarded his Medal in 1970 for his initiative and determination in leading his troops to safety despite severe injuries, during the Vietnam War. Pitts, a native of Lowell, was awarded his Medal in 2014 for his valiant actions while deployed in Afghanistan.

Sergeant Ryan Pitts receiving the Medal of Honor from President Obama in 2014 Photo: Stars & Stripes

Sergeant Ryan Pitts receiving the Medal of Honor from President Obama in 2014 Photo: Stars & Stripes

“The Medal of Honor recipients are thrilled to be coming back to Boston this week,’’ said Secretary Thomas Kelley in a statement.  “The outpouring of warmth we experienced in our previous conventions in 2001 and 2006 left an indelible impression on all of us. I am especially excited that our most recent recipients from Afghanistan and Vietnam who have not been here before will be able to experience the sense of patriotism and honor which is the hallmark of Boston.’’

The convention begins on Tuesday, September 15th, and ends on Saturday, September 19th.  To learn more about the convention, visit the official website.

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