Congressman Burchett introduces bill to award Congressional Gold Medal to Master Sergeant Edmonds
WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 3, 2019) – Last week, Congressman Tim Burchett introduced H.R. 1908, a bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to Master Sergeant Rodrick “Roddie” Edmonds for his heroism and leadership during World War II. The rest of the bipartisan Tennessee delegation signed on as original co-sponsors, and Senators Lamar Alexander and Marsha Blackburn introduced the bill in the Senate.
“Master Sergeant Edmonds is a true American hero, and it’s time he was recognized for his bravery during World War II,” said Rep. Burchett. “Not only was he detained in a POW camp and lived to tell about it, but he stood up to his captors and risked his own life to protect his fellow Jewish servicemen. Master Sergeant Edmonds deserves this commendation, and I’m honored to sponsor it.”
Master Sergeant Edmonds was a lifelong East Tennessean. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge where Nazi forces captured and detained him at a prisoner of war camp. MSG Edmonds was one of 1,200 American soldiers captured by the Germans. He was a prisoner of war for 100 days.
During his detainment, German soldiers ordered Jewish POWs to identify themselves so they could be separately sent to labor and concentration camps. When MSG Edmonds was held at gunpoint to surrender the identity of the Jewish soldiers in his company, he refused and stated, “We are all Jews here.” Their identities were never given, and the German soldiers eventually ceased their interrogation, saving 200 Jewish soldiers’ lives.
Since Edmonds death in 1985, Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, has recognized him, one of only five Americans, for his actions.