Ron Jenkins/Associated Press
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones announced Thursday he’s committing $20 million to the National Medal of Honor Museum and Leadership Institute, which has now received $70 million in funding and plans to break ground for construction in Texas next spring.
Jones told Jori Epstein of USA Today he’s hopeful the project can create a further sense of unity by spotlighting those who’ve received the U.S. military’s highest honor.
“It says everything when I look at [us] saying, ‘We need to show each other love from every kind of bias we can talk about,'” he said. “I’ve never seen anything that nails it like the recognition of the Medal of Honor winners and what they stood for.”
The museum features four former Presidents—Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama—as its honorary directors.
Charlotte Jones, daughter of the Cowboys owner and the NFL team’s chief brand officer, serves as the chairman of the museum’s board of directors.
“This project is really about driving character-driven leadership and empowering patriotism and really letting people understand not what [recipients] did, but how did they do it,” she told Epstein. “What were they made of that caused them to risk not only their lives, in many instances, but the complete sacrifice they gave to our country?”
Its official website provides further details about what it hopes to accomplish once completed:
“The museum will offer an experience that draws personal and emotional connections to Medal of Honor recipients and their stories, while shedding light on the wars in which they fought and the ideals that the Medal of Honor represents. Visitors will come to understand the meaning and price of freedom—and appreciate the virtue of putting service above self.
“The National Medal of Honor Museum will also include an education center aimed at character development in our nation’s youth. A critical part of our mission will be to use the stories of our Medal of Honor recipients to inspire young people, and motivate them to be their best selves.”
Meanwhile, the Cowboys owner explained he’s hopeful his donation and the attention that could be brought to the museum on future NFL broadcasts can have a major impact.
“I’m keenly aware that when we endorse or we significantly recognize something special about our country, that’s going to have notice,” Jones said.
There have been 3,526 Medal of Honor recipients from members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard.
The museum is tentatively scheduled to open in 2024.