Team Maryland Urges Trump to Consider Capital Gazette Hero for Presidential Medal of Freedom

July 16, 2018
Press Release
Medal of Freedom is nation’s highest civilian honor

(Washington, DC) — Today, members of Maryland’s Democratic Congressional delegation urged President Donald Trump to consider Wendi Winters – a victim of the mass shooting in the Capital Gazette newsroom last month – for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The nation’s highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom is awarded by the President to men and women who have made meritorious contributions to the security of the United States, to world peace, to culture or to other significant endeavors.

Winters was among the five Capital Gazette employees killed in the June 28 shooting in Annapolis, Maryland. According to eyewitness accounts from survivors, Wendi armed herself with the closest weapons at hand – her trash and recycling bins – and charged the shooter, shouting for him to stop. It is believed that Wendi’s actions distracted the shooter enough to enable several of her coworkers to escape.

“Previous Presidents have awarded the Medal of Freedom posthumously on dozens of occasions and we believe Wendi is a hero deserving of the same,” the delegation wrote. “She died not only protecting her colleagues, but in defense of the First Amendment.”

A recent editorial from the Capital Gazette outlined Winters’ heroic acts and called on President Trump to award her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which was established by President Truman in 1945 and was revived by President Kennedy in 1963. To date, President Trump has not yet awarded any Medals of Freedom.

Maryland’s House delegation led a moment of silence on the House floor in honor of the Capital Gazette victims. U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen led a Senate resolution– passed unanimously – in honor of the victims: Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters.

The letter was signed by Maryland Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen as well as Representatives Steny Hoyer, Elijah Cummings, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, John Delaney, Anthony Brown and Jamie Raskin, all Democrats.

The full text of the letter follows:

 

July 16, 2018

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As you are aware, it is the authority of the President of the United States to award the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The President historically bestows this honor to men and women who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security and safety of his or her fellow citizens.

As Senators and Representatives for the State of Maryland, we urge you to consider Wendi Winters for this great distinction. As you may know, Wendi was among the five victims who lost their lives in the mass shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom on June 28, 2018, in Annapolis, Maryland. According to eyewitness accounts from survivors, Wendi armed herself with the closest weapons at hand – her trash and recycling bins – and charged the shooter, shouting for him to stop. It is believed that Wendi’s actions distracted the shooter enough to enable several of her coworkers to escape.

In addition to dedicating her career to the betterment of her community, Wendi’s family is rooted in military tradition. She was the daughter of a Naval Academy graduate and the mother of three Navy officers. She sponsored numerous midshipman over the years.  A Girl Scout leader, she also volunteered with the Red Cross and as a youth adviser at her church.

Previous Presidents have awarded the Medal of Freedom posthumously on dozens of occasions and we believe Wendi is a hero deserving of the same. She died not only protecting her colleagues, but in defense of the First Amendment.

Again, we enthusiastically recommend Wendi Winters for the Presidential Medal of Freedom and we look forward to your expeditious response.

Sincerely,

 

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