ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– The U.S. Naval Academy will host the 2018 Congressional Medal of Honor Convention for the first time ever.

The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest military award for valor in combat.

Marlanders Barney Barnum and Brian Thacker are among those looking forward to the one-of-a-kind experience in Annapolis.

“And no one despises combat or war any more than those of us who have experienced it,” Barnum said. “But we have to be training young men and women like on the yard, prepared to step up and do what needs to be done because there are factions around this world that want to take us down.”

As a prelude to the convention the Medal of Honor recipients raised the society’s flag on the statehouse lawn Tuesday morning.

“In spite of all the things that have sought to divide us in this country and that still divide us today, we are brought together by the tremendous respect that we hold and the incredible debt that we owe to all of those who have worn the flag of our nation on their arm and are willing to lay down their lives to protect the rights and the freedoms that we all hold so dear,” said Gov. Larry Hogan.

There are 71 living recipients of the Medal of Honor.

The Congressional Medal of Honor was authorized by Congress and signed into legislation by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.

The convention will take place September 12 – 16, 2018.

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