The ceremony honors the 26th Secretary of Defense James Mattis and the late Navy veteran and Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Bill Withers
AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation Lone Sailor Awards Program will honor two tremendous individuals, 26th Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis, USMC (Ret.), and Grammy Award–winning singer-songwriter and Navy veteran Bill Withers, as this year's Lone Sailor Award recipients. The ceremony will be live-streamed at 7:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, September 17, via the U.S. Navy Memorial's website. U.S. Money Reserve is a diamond corporate sponsor of the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation and will serve as presenting sponsor for the ceremony, furthering the Foundation's mission to honor the men and women of the Sea Services past, present, and future.
This distinguished event will highlight two themes: “Service to our Nation” and the values invoked from Bill Withers' iconic song “Lean on Me.”
U.S. Money Reserve's support of the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation began with the launch of its exclusive 75th Anniversary Pearl Harbor coin series in 2016. A portion of the proceeds from the series was donated to the Foundation, which largely helped to fund a Lone Sailor statue that was dedicated at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center in Honolulu, HI, on October 13, 2017, coinciding with the Navy's 242nd birthday.
“U.S. Money Reserve has long supported the nation's veterans and is proud to salute these two great heroes through the Lone Sailor Awards Program,” U.S. Money Reserve CEO Angela Roberts said. “We look forward to highlighting the noble values and achievements of these two individuals' respective careers.”
The program will begin with the Sea Service leaders' tribute of “In Their Own Words,” featuring Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William Lescher, Coast Guard Vice Commandant Adm. Charles Ray, and Lt. Gen. Eric Smith, who is commanding general of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command. Each speaker will share what he believes it means to serve and be dedicated to a mission, bringing home the messages of what it means to truly lean on each other.
William “Bill” Harrison Withers, Jr., enlisted in the United States Navy at the age of 17 and served for nine years. Withers did not begin singing publicly until he was in the service. Withers learned about receiving this award prior to his passing in March of this year, stating that it was a “personal highlight” for him.
In recognition of Withers, long-time friends will provide powerful testimonials to honor him posthumously. Marcia Johnson, wife to Bill for 44 years, will accept the award on behalf of her late husband. Johnson has said that the many characteristics that she loved about Bill developed during his Naval service, including his discipline, strong work ethic, dependability, and sense of pride.
Honoree Gen. James Mattis, USMC (Ret.), will also speak of his gratitude for the Naval service as well as paying respects to his fellow shipmate Bill Withers. During his 44 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, Mattis commanded forces in the Persian Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan, and the Iraq War. The retired Marine Corps general also served as U.S. Secretary of Defense from 2017 to 2019.
“As an organization, U.S. Money Reserve is proud to employ many veterans. We are moved by the inspiration, humility, and patriotism of this year's Lone Sailor Award recipients and all men and women of the Sea Services. I know that other viewers will be equally touched by the program's speeches and dedications,” Roberts said.
The ceremony will conclude with a Bill Withers music video tribute. Multiple artists will come together to sing a rendition of “Lean on Me,” supported by the U.S. Navy band.
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SOURCE U.S. Money Reserve