HONORING HONOR

Written By: Bruce A. Percelay | Photography By: Geoff Chesman

Summer resident Bob Monahan helps celebrate Medal of Honor heroes.

Of all the exclusive clubs in America, none is more rarified than the recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Created in 1861 by President Abraham Lincoln, the Medal of Honor is bestowed by the president to members of the armed forces who distinguish themselves through “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life, above and beyond the call of duty.”

Nantucket summer resident Bob Monahan has long been inspired by the seventy-two living recipients of the Medal of Honor and served as president and CEO of the 2018 Congressional Medal of Honor Society Convention, held in September at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. As a real estate developer who chaired the 2013 Medal of Honor event at Gettysburg as well as serving as chair and co-chair of the Boston Pops on Nantucket concert in 2014 and 2017 respectively, Monahan is no stranger to throwing major events. And his production for the 750-person, black-tie convention gala could best be described as heroic.

Staged in the academy’s dramatic 30,000-square-foot dining hall, with soaring 50-foot ceilings, pomp and circumstance were on full display. Kicked off with a rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” played by the White House band, the evening was hosted by CBS News’s Norah O’Donnell and was centered around annual awards presented to various individuals who are recognized for their contributions to politics, journalism, entertainment and patriotism. Recipients included Maine Senator Susan Collins, Fox News broadcaster Chris Wallace, comedian Jay Leno, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Special recognition was given to New England Patriots coach and Nantucket summer resident Bill Belichick, who was raised on the academy campus while his father served as assistant football coach and director of physical education for the school.

The Medal of Honor Society’s role goes far deeper than hosting elaborate events. According to Monahan, who has also served as one of the gala chairs for Holidays for Heroes on Nantucket for four years, “The purpose of this effort is to support veterans and active duty military who leave service with personal challenges.” He added, “For many veterans the most difficult job begins when they come home and have to deal with the trauma and challenges associated with war.” Whether a person serves in the military or works in civilian life, the Medal of Honor recipients set a standard of conduct to which we can all aspire.

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