August 22, 2019
A building dedication ceremony to be held at the National Western Complex to honor Medal of Honor recipient and former postal employee George “Joe” Sakato. The Denver Stockyards Post Office building has been renamed in his honor.
Senator Cory Gardner (video)
George Sakato’s daughter Leslie Sakato
Major General Michael A. Loh, Adjutant General of Colorado
Denver Postmaster Lora McLucas
USPS Western Area Vice President Gregory Graves
Colorado Freedom Memorial Founder Rick Crandall
Friday August 23, 2019 at 11:00 a.m.
National Western Complex
4655 Humboldt St, 2nd Floor
Denver, CO 80216
On July 27, 2018, Public Law No: 115-220 designated the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 4910 Brighton Boulevard in Denver, CO, as the George Sakato Post Office Building.”
George “Joe” Sakato received the Medal of Honor in 2000 for his actions during World War II. On October 29, 1944 near Biffontaine, France. Sakato led an assault resulting in a victory for the 442nd Army Regiment Combat Team.
After Sakato returned from the war he was later hired by the Denver Post Office. He first served his county in the U.S. Army, then he served his county in the U.S. Postal Service. “By every account, he was a faithful, dedicated and exemplary employee that inspired many others,” said Denver Postmaster Laura McLucas. “Today he serves as a great inspiration to our employees and to the residents of Denver.”
Sakato worked at the Denver Stockyards Post Office for most of his 27-year career.
The Nation’s Highest Award for Valor in Combat
The Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor in combat, is presented “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty.”
The idea for the Medal of Honor was conceived during the first year of the Civil War. Men were fighting for their country, yet the nation had no formal system for recognizing or rewarding acts of heroism. Then a senator from Iowa, James W. Grimes, introduced a bill to “promote the efficiency of the Navy” by distributing “medals of honor.” President Abraham Lincoln signed the bill into law on December 21, 1861. Lincoln signed a similar measure on behalf of the U.S. Army on July 12, 1862, and the country had two Medals of Honor: one for sailors, and one for soldiers. By the time the Civil War ended, 1,525 medals had been awarded, including one to Army surgeon Mary Walker, the only woman ever to receive the Medal of Honor.
Because it was the country’s only military medal, the Medal of Honor was awarded more freely at first. But after World War I broke out, the Army and Navy created a series of new decorations to recognize different degrees of accomplishment, including the Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, and the Citation Star, later replaced by the Silver Star. As a result, only 124 Medals of Honor were awarded for service in World War I.
There are three similar, yet distinct, versions of the Medal of Honor, one for each military department (Army, Navy, and Air Force). The medals are similar in that each consists of a variation of a five-pointed star worn around the neck on a light blue ribbon. The Navy version is awarded to those serving in the Navy and Marine Corps, and during times of war, to members of the Coast Guard. Although not required by any military regulation, according to tradition and the nature of the award, even a four-star general will salute a private who wears the Medal of Honor. Visit the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website for information on all Medal of Honor recipients.
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