Senate Joint Resolution 28 designating U.S. Highway 20 as Medal of Honor Highway unanimously passed as Illinois joins the effort to rename the 3,365 miles of Highway 20 spanning the nation from the Pacific to Atlantic Oceans.
"This partnership of states honoring their Medal of Honor recipients amplifies our deep appreciation and recognition of their heroism,” said IDVA Director Terry Prince. "Highway 20 intersects Illinois and connects us to Indiana and Iowa. It is well-traveled by many who will be reminded of those within our state who have fought courageously and selfishly.”
Since the Civil War, 3,511 service men and one woman have received the honor, and 66 are still living today.
Illinois has been home to 199 Medal of Honor recipients including U.S. Army Sergeant Allen James Lynch (then SP4) of Gurnee, and U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Harold A. Fritz (then First Lieutenant) of Peoria, both cited for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty” during the Vietnam War. Passing of the Resolution coincides with Vietnam Veterans Day, held each year on March 29th.
About 2,360 recipients or two-thirds of all 3,508 Medal of Honor awards presented since 1863 are connected with the 12 states connecting Highway 20: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts. Oregon initiated the effort and states have followed as the Medal of Honor flag has been transported from state to state.
Other veteran partners include the VFW, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Military Officers Association of America, and state coalitions of veterans’ groups.
Events commemorating the designations will be planned and announced throughout the year. The Illinois Department of Transportation will begin erecting the Medal of Honor Highway signs across the state.