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Nation’s Medal of Honor recipients gather in Boston

Melvin Morris, one of 42 of the 78 living Medal of Honor Recipients, saluted an honor guard as he and his wife Mary made their way to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society's annual convention. Keith Bedford/Globe Staff

More than half of the nation’s living Medal of Honor recipients are gathering in Boston this week for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s annual convention, which will feature visits to a dozen area high schools and the North Bridge in Concord.

More than 40 of the 78 living Medal of Honor recipients are expected to attend the convention, which runs through Sunday. Created in 1861, the Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest military decoration.

It is the third time Boston has hosted the convention, the most of any city.

“These Medal of Honor recipients have formed a strong bond with the city and people of Boston and to be able to honor them here for the third time in 14 years is unprecedented in the history of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society,’’ said Thomas Lyons, chairman of the Boston Medal of Honor Convention Host Committee. “The service and sacrifices they have made on behalf of the nation, and their unwavering support for our men and women in uniform, is awe-inspiring.”

Two recipients live in Massachusetts: Thomas G. Kelley, a retired Navy Captain awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Vietnam on June 15, 1969, and Thomas Hudner Jr., a retired Navy Captain who received his Medal of Honor for his service as a fighter pilot in North Korea on Dec. 4, 1950.


The convention will culminate Saturday with an award gala at the Seaport World Trade Center, where the recipients will honor Marine Corps Commandant General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Bob Woodruff of ABC News, and celebrity Chef Robert Irvine.

On Wednesday, pairs of recipients will visit area high schools, including Wakefield High School, Malden Catholic High School, Boston College High School, and Somerville High School. Later in the morning, the recipients will visit the State House.


On Sunday, there will be a rededication of South Boston Vietnam Memorial.

Peter Schworm can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @globepete.