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The Boston Herald
September 18, 2001

U.S. Medal of Honor Recipients Still Coming to the Hub

By Tom Farmer

Equating the heroism and sacrifice shown by New York City's police and firefighters to the battlefield gallantry that earned them America's highest military decoration, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society said war will not deter them from coming to Boston next month.

Retired Navy Capts. Thomas G. Kelley and Thomas J. Hudner Jr., the two MOH recipients who live in Massachusetts, said they and the other 148 living medal recipients grieve for the thousands who died in the terrorist attack last week and ``feel a special kinship and relationship'' with New York's heroic public safety workers.

``When Tom Hudner and I did our acts that earned us the Medal of Honor many years ago in war, there were no doubts about the rules and regulations,'' said Kelley, who was awarded the MOH for valor in Vietnam.

```We were at war with another country and we instinctively acted the way we were trained to do. Those men and women who rushed into the World Trade Towers within minutes after those buildings were hit last Tuesday, they had time to think about it. They had time to make a conscious decision; shall I go in or shall I not go in.

``They went in,'' Kelley continued. ``They ran to the sound of the drums and they gave their lives for their fellow citizens who were in those buildings.''

More than 100 of the MOH recipients were expected to attend the society's first convention in Boston last week. Kelley, Hudner and convention planning chairman Tom Lyons announced at the South Boston Vietnam Memorial at M Street Park the convention will now be held from Oct. 24-28.

The organizers want to expand a concert by Irish tenor John McDermott from the FleetBoston Pavilion into a ``Bob Hope-type'' performance at a larger venue, like the FleetCenter. McDermott is being awarded the society's Bob Hope Award.

Hudner said the medal recipients are as shocked and stunned as the rest of the nation over the terrorist attack, but have been overwhelmed by the resulting patriotism.

``As a group, and each one of us as individuals, what we're most grateful for is the response of the United States and throughout the whole world to what had happened,'' said Hudner, who was awarded the MOH for heroism in Korea.