Monday, 1 June 2020

Ted Cruz Furious After Auction House's Decision on Medal of Honor

A German auction house disregarded pleas from Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and the National Medal of Honor Museum and on Thursday sold a U.S. Medal of Honor for $15,000.
The medal had been awarded to Pvt. Thomas Kelly for his heroism during the Spanish-American War, according to Stars and Stripes.
The Munich-based auction house Hermann Historica expected to sell the medal for $5,000 but tripled its take after the medal attracted public notice, said Bernhard Pacher, the managing director of Hermann Historica.
“People appreciate these things,” Pacher said, saying that Cruz’s effort to block the sale increased publicity and interest.
He said buyers hold the objects they buy in high regard.
Cruz had written Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking him to stop the sale.
“The sale harms the dignity and honor of all recipients of the Medal of Honor,” Cruz wrote, according to a copy of the letter on Cruz’s website.
Medal of Honor Museum President and CEO Joe Daniels also opposed the sale.
“This Medal of Honor is a priceless American treasure that belongs here in our country,” Daniels said, according to the museum’s website.
“We’re asking our elected leaders and officials in the administration to do what they can to prevent people from illegally profiting off of Private Kelly’s heroism and bring the medal home where it belongs,” he said.
“The history of his bravery as well as the artifacts associated with it must be preserved here in our land where they can be used to inspire future generations of American patriots,” he wrote in a letter to President Donald Trump hoping to block the sale.
Selling military medals that have been awarded by Congress is illegal in the U.S. However, selling a U.S. medal in Germany does not violate German law.
Two European bidders for Kelly’s medal dropped out, but several American bidders drove up the price, Pacher said.
Kelley, who was born in Ireland,  was award the Medal of Honor for his actions with the 21st infantry during at Santiago de Cuba — otherwise known as the Battle of San Juan Hill — on July 1, 1898, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
Kelly was cited after he “[g]allantly assisted in the rescue of the wounded from in front of the lines and while under heavy fire from the enemy,” the site said.
Kelly joined the Army in April 1894 and served continuously until his death, including service in World War I, said Laura Jowdy, an archivist and historical collections manager with the society.
Kelly died on Dec. 17, 1920, at age 43 and is buried in the Barracks Post Cemetery in Plattsburg, New York, she said.

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