Shaheen Posthumously Presents Congressional Gold Medal to Son of NH World War II Merchant Marine
**Later: Shaheen Visits Wright Museum of World War II in Wolfeboro to Highlight her Bipartisan Bill Recently Signed into Law that Helps Restore the National WWII Memorial**
Shaheen posthumously presents the Congressional Gold Medal to son of Captain Dwight A. Smith
Shaheen tours Wright Museum of World War II in Wolfeboro
(Manchester, NH) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) participated in the presentation ceremony of the Congressional Gold Medal to the family of World War II Captain Dwight A. Smith, who served in the Merchant Marines. The medal was presented to Captain Dwight A. Smith’s son, Dwight A. Smith Jr., at the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton. Shaheen and her staff worked closely with the Smith family to obtain this medal.
“I was honored to take part in today’s ceremony honoring the life and service of Captain Dwight A. Smith, who served in the Merchant Marines during World War II. American Merchant Marines were instrumental to the war effort, serving as the supply line for U.S. troops and our Allies. Without their integral role and contributions, victory would not have been possible,” said Senator Shaheen. “I was honored to help the Smith family obtain this medal for Captain Smith and grateful to present it to his son Dwight, who carried on his father’s legacy of service to our nation.”
In 2019, Shaheen supported legislation – which is now law – to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the U.S. Merchant Mariners of World War II. The Merchant Mariners of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act recognized the dedicated and vital service of the 290,000 men – including Captain Dwight A. Smith – who served in the Merchant Marine and risked their lives transporting American soldiers, supplies and equipment over the seas in support of the Allied war effort.
In the afternoon, Shaheen toured the Wright Museum of World War II in Wolfeboro where she discussed her successful push in Congress to pass the bipartisan Greatest Generation Commemorative Coin Act, which was signed into law earlier this month. The new law will help preserve a public space to honor and remember veterans who bravely fought in WWII. The law authorizes the U.S. Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the service and sacrifice of the Greatest Generation during World War II, and proceeds from the coin sales will go toward much-needed repairs and maintenance to the National World War II Memorial at no cost to taxpayers. Shaheen and Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) led the legislation in the U.S. Senate.
“It was wonderful to be in Wolfeboro to pay tribute to the heroic men and women of the Greatest Generation,” said Senator Shaheen. “I am so proud to have partnered with Senator Rounds to secure passage of the bipartisan Greatest Generation Commemorative Coin Act, which President Biden recently signed into law. Our bill is an investment on behalf of veterans and military families to have a public space at the National World War II Memorial to pay tribute to those who risked or gave their lives for our nation and the values we hold dear. I appreciated the opportunity to share the good news about our bill and to tour the Wright Museum with advocates and staff as we remember our fallen heroes. I’ll continue to pursue efforts in the Senate that will ensure our military members and families always have the support of their communities.”
Senator Shaheen has worked across the aisle to honor and pay tribute to American fallen heroes and veterans. Shaheen successfully led bipartisan efforts in Congress to establish a memorial for the men lost aboard the USS Thresher at Arlington National Cemetery. Senator Shaheen delivered the keynote address at the dedication for the memorial. Shaheen also fought to include her bipartisan legislation to ensure all members of the Reserve Component and the National Guard are eligible to be buried in state veterans cemeteries in the fiscal year 2022 government funding bill that is now law.