The Lexington Medical Center Foundation hosted a dinner and talk this week with three of the 78 living Medal of Honor recipients in our nation. Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, Maj. Gen. James Livingston and Lt. Michael Thornton – who have each called South Carolina home – attended and addressed the audience of more than 800 people.
Created in 1861, the Congressional Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest medal for valor in combat. The President, in the name of Congress, presents it to the nation’s bravest men and women who serve in the United States Armed Forces.
Livingston and Thornton are both Vietnam War veterans. Livingston was wounded three times as he continued to lead his fellow Marines out of battle and refused to be evacuated until all others were safe. A S.C. native who now lives in Texas, Thornton acted courageously to remove two seriously wounded senior naval officers during battle and towed them seaward for approximately two hours until a support craft rescued them. Carpenter, a current student at the University of South Carolina from Gilbert, S.C., suffered devastating injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, the loss of his right eye, a broken nose and 30 fractures to his right arm, when he jumped on a grenade to shield a fellow Marine from a deadly blast in Afghanistan in 2010.
During An Evening of Honor, the men reflected on their time in the service and those who fought alongside them. They also encouraged guests to honor veterans and active duty military personnel, and to treat each day as a gift.