The nation’s oldest living Medal of Honor recipient, Bob Maxwell, a WWII Army veteran, from Bend, participated in a ceremony at Newport City Hall yesterday (10-30), dedicating the Oregon Medal of Honor Highway. At the request of the Bend Heroes Foundation, chaired by Dick Tobiason, the Oregon Legislature and Governor Kate Brown designated all 451 miles of Highway 20, in Oregon, as the Oregon Medal of Honor Highway. The highway honors Oregon’s 26 Medal of Honor recipients who served during eight major wars in ten countries over a span of 108 years from the Civil War to the Vietnam War.
Mayor Sandra Roumagoux, Robert Maxwell, City Council members, Dick Tobiason, and other dignitaries where on hand yesterday afternoon as the new highway sign was unveiled. The sign will be re-installed on Highway 20 near Moore Drive. This will be the first border-to-border highway in the nation honoring all of a state’s Medal of Honor recipients. The Oregon Medal of Honor Highway begins in Newport that is also the western terminus of the 3,365-mile long Highway 20 crossing 12 states ending in Boston, Massachusetts. Oregon’s 26 “Bravest of the Brave” veterans are connected with 12 Oregon cities.
Maxwell is the only Medal of Honor recipient living in Oregon. Mr. Maxwell’s heroism on September 7, 1944, in France, resulted in the award of the Medal of Honor. The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded to an individual of the Armed Forces. Thirty five hundred awards have been made since President Lincoln signed legislation for the award 155 years ago. Only 73 Medal of Honor recipients, of all wars, are living in the U.S. today.
Photo by David Miller