Congressman Sanford Bishop

Representing the 2nd District of Georgia


Jun 24, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA) sponsored H.R. 5561, the Max Cleland Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2016. Congressman Bishop was joined by Congressmen Earl ‘Buddy’ Carter (R-GA), Henry ‘Hank’ Johnson (D-GA), John Lewis (D-GA), Rob Woodall (R-GA), Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), David Scott (D-GA), and Tom Graves (R-GA) in presenting the bill in the United States House of Representatives. The legislation is a companion bill to S. 2924 introduced by Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA). Congressman Bishop issued the following statement regarding the presentation of this award to Senator Cleland.

“As a leader on behalf of veterans for over four decades, Senator Cleland has overcome immeasurable obstacles to serve his state of Georgia and the nation. His distinguished career is unrivaled, and it is my distinct pleasure to honor Senator Cleland with this award. Senator Cleland’s life in public service began as a young man when he joined the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at Stetson University. Following his graduation, he volunteered to serve as an Army Officer in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Silver Star for his bravery at the Battle of Khe Sanh. He later suffered extensive injuries in combat, ultimately losing both of his legs and his right arm. Facing an uncertain future while recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Senator Cleland fought to overcome his injuries with both resilience and sheer fortitude.

“Following his release from Walter Reed, Cleland became the youngest member of the Georgia State Senate in 1970. Seven years later, he was appointed to head the Veterans Administration by President Jimmy Carter. Cleland then served as Georgia’s Secretary of State from 1982 to 1996, after which he was elected to the United States Senate, where he represented Georgia from 1997 to 2003. In the Senate, Cleland advocated for veterans and a strong national defense, helped to institute significant reform at the Department of Defense, and became a respected leader in Congress. Upon leaving the Senate, he served on the 9/11 Commission and is currently the Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission, a position to which he was appointed by President Obama in 2009.

“The Congressional Gold Medal is the proper means to honor this distinguished American who has given so much and continues to work tirelessly on behalf of the entire nation.”

To read more about the Max Cleland Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2016, please click here