Minnesota has more than its share of national heroes.
At least this week it does, because they've come from across the country for the Congressional Medal of Honor convention.
The Medal of Honor is the country's highest military award and is bestowed to recognize valor in combat.
Organizers of the convention list 56 Minnesotans who have received the medal. They include one of the rare peacetime recipients, Charles A. Lindbergh, and Louis Cukela, who earned two Medals of Honor – from both the Navy and the Army – for his actions during a World War I battle.
Of the 77 living Medal of Honor recipients, FOX 9 reports 43 were planning to attend this week's convention.
Most of them were honored for service in Vietnam or earlier conflicts. One of the few who has earned the medal in Iraq or Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Ty Carter, told WCCO being around the more senior medalists made him feel like "an ant among giants."
Carter told the station he wears the medal for his peers who can't: “A lot of men died that day. This medal is kind of a shield that all these individuals stand behind and then I’ve been given the responsibility and the honor to carry it and represent them as best as I can,” he said.
This week's convention culminates with a black tie Patriot Awards gala at the Minneapolis Convention Center Saturday night.
Minnesota Medal of Honor Memorial planned
Minnesota is planning its own memorial to the state's Medal of Honor recipients.
It will be at the south end of the State Capitol mall in an area that was designed to be a reflecting pool but is not currently being used as one.
It will honor all Medal of Honor recipients who were born or died in the state, are buried here, or enlisted here – which brings the total number of Minnesotans to 72.