MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Twin Cities will host the annual Medal of Honor Convention this fall for the very first time. The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest military award for valor in combat, and is incredibly rare.

This week the advance team, with three Medal of Honor recipients, is in town touring locations. Thursday morning, they were at the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis. There are fewer than 3,500 total recipients.

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“It’s a small group of guys, there’s only 76 left living and we’re losing them quite frequently now-a-days. We’ve just about lost all of our WWII and Korean veterans, still have quite a few Vietnam and the new Afghan guys are coming into replace us. So it’s a chance that we get to get up with old friends that you may not see again,” Robert Patterson, Medal of Honor recipient and vice president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, said.

An important focus in each host city is a character development program for students.

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“It gives us a chance to go out and visit schools in the district and talk to the children in schools about the values of patriotism, service to others, integrity, that type of thing,” Tom Kelley, Medal of Honor recipient and president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, said.

The Medal of Honor Convention is Oct. 4-8. There will be private and public events, including opportunities to meet the men and women who have received our nation’s highest military honor.

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Jennifer Mayerle