The Medal of Honor has a storied past from its rough and tumble beginnings during the Civil War to its current status as the US military's highest honor. That past was celebrated in a 47-minute documentary produced in Knoxville titled "Medal of Honor: A History."
The documentary began at 7 p.m. Monday and VIP ticket holders also be able attended a reception before the viewing.
While millions have served in America's military since the award's creation in the Civil War, fewer than 3,500 have received the Medal of Honor. And there are less than 80 living recipients.
Two Medal of Honor recipients traveled to East Tennessee this week to see the documentary and share their experiences.
Sgt. Sammy Davis,
hailed as the real "Forrest Gump,"earned his Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War. On November 18, 1967, even though he was extensively injured and unable to swim, Davis picked up an air mattress and crossed a deep river to rescue three wounded comrades. After reaching the men, he stood up and fired at the advancing Vietcong until it was safe to transport them across the water.
VIDEO: Sgt. Sammy Davis on documentary premiere
Cpl. Hershel "Woody" Williams earned his Medal of Honor during World War II. On Feb. 23, 1945 in Iwo Jima, the Marine spent four hours armed with a flamethrower and four riflemen wiping out Japanese defenses that were organized around a series of pillboxes. Williams's bravery helped create an opening in Japanese lines that enabled the Americans to advance. He is now chaplain emeritus of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
VIDEO: Cpl Hershel "Woody Williams on documentary premiere