A bill authorizing the Congressional Gold Medal to the Army Ranger veterans of World War II is awaiting the signature of President Joe Biden.
The House passed the bill on Wednesday, according to Military.com. The Senate had passed the bill last October.
The gold medal is the highest national honor that can be awarded by Congress.
According to Military.com, the Rangers volunteered to fight in World War II and saw combat from the Normandy beaches to the jungles in the Philippines. Of the nearly 7,000 who once filled their ranks, only 15 are still alive.
Family members of those Rangers who have passed away, may request a medal.
Of the surviving 15, retired Maj. Gen. John Raaen of Florida, recently turned 100. He is believed to be the last of the surviving Army officers who was in the first wave to hit Omaha Beach in the D-Day landings of June 6, 1944.
"We took no fire from above us, which would have been devastating," Raaen said. "They couldn't see us until we were on top of them," adding that "the moment my battalion hit the high ground, Hitler was done."
Army Capt. Ron Hudnell, a Ranger himself and the son of the late Wolrd War II Ranger James H. Hudnell, noted Biden could make the award presentation even more significant by scheduling the signing of the bill on Memorial Day weekend or on June 6 to mark the 78th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
The bill was co-sponsored by Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill. Duckworth is a retired Army lieutenant and double amputee from fighting in Iraq.
"For years I've worked across the aisle to honor our brave World War II Army Rangers, like the late Lester Cook of Des Moines, who risked life and limb in the name of our great country," Ernst said.
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