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Family of Medal Of Honor recipient Rodney Davis works to ensure his story isn't forgotten

Rodney Maxwell Davis was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1969.
Rodney Maxwell Davis was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1969.
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There have been more than 3,500 Medals of Honor awarded to military members for acts of valor in service to this country.

There are amazing stories behind each those medals.

Some we hear often. Others we don't hear often enough.

In the Price of Freedom, the amazing story of a Marine Corps Sergeant and Medal of Honor recipient from Macon, Georgia

If you want to get an understanding of the kind of person Rodney Maxwell Davis was, this is how his brother Robert described Rodney as a young man in a video from the Congressional Medal of Honor society

"He didn't take anything off of anybody, and he didn't let anybody mess with his family," Robert Davis said.

Amanda Ray is Rodney Davis's niece. She visited Chattanooga on National Medal Of Honor Day.

"What you should understand is that he didn't take any mess from people who were treating underdogs or people poorly," Amanda said. "So, not a regular bully a real life stand-up hero."

The word hero maybe overused at times, but not in this story.

Not when you're talking about Rodney Maxwell Davis.

His story is truly hard to believe.

He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously in 1969.

Part of his Medal of Honor Citation reads:

"When an enemy grenade landed in the trench in the midst of his men, Sgt. Davis realizing the gravity of the situation, and in a final valiant act of complete self-sacrifice, instantly threw himself upon the grenade, absorbing with his body the full and terrific force of the explosion."

John Hollis wrote a book about Davis, and he was at one time married to one of Davis's nieces. Hollis says Rodney Davis had only been in Vietnam for three weeks at the time he was killed in action. He didn't even know some of the men whose lives he saved.

"One Marine to his right, Randy Leedom. The late Randy Leedom passed away 2 years ago. He had been in the hospital with malaria until the day before. He had never even met Sgt. Davis," Hollis said.

Rodney Davis grew up in what was then a segregated Macon Georgia, and the Marines whose lives he saved were all white men.

Davis without hesitation jumped on a grenade to save his Marines.

"It just shows you how much he loved his fellow Marines, and how much he loved America," Hollis said.

Rodney Davis could have been buried in Arlington National Cemetery, but his mother wanted him to be laid to rest at home.

He is buried in Historic Linwood Cemetery. The cemetery was established in the late 1800's as an all African American Cemetery. It is near this is near the neighborhood where he grew up.

"Thinking on life-scope on where she imagined the neighborhood, or anything happening is that she knew that her son would be able to protect something even after death," Amanda Ray said.

The Davis family is working with the Charles H. Coolidge National Medal Of Honor Heritage Center on an exhibit to tell Rodney Davis's story.

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Some video and photos in this story courtesy of The Congressional Medal Of Honor Society, The White House, The United States Marine Corps, and John Hollis.

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