MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Make no mistake about it – Major General James E. Livingston is a hero who continues to inspire and lead.

He was awarded the nation’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for heroic actions in 1968 during the Vietnam War.

“The award embodied all the greatness of America, all the unique qualities of this great country,” he said during a ceremony in Mount Pleasant.

The 81 year old served active duty in the Marine Corps for more than 33 years.

“Courage and sacrifice is acknowledged by those who served and sacrificed,” he said.

But recently, while speaking during the inaugural Medal of Honor Day celebration at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant, this hero talked about history and the importance of generations not forgetting where we came from.

“Thing about it- we’ve got such a great country, and we’ve got a great country because of service and sacrifice. And the great state of South Carolina has made so many contributions to our freedom, and we just need to make sure young kids here in South Carolina understand that contribution.”

Understanding the price paid for American freedoms by so many in uniform, Livingston says if we don’t recognize who we are, we won’t be sure of where we are going.

“This location, Patriots Point, was put here for a purpose,” he said. “To make sure patriotism continues, and we need to really energize that effort and really make contact with the young people – get them over here and let them see the Yorktown, let them go through the Medal of Honor museum, let them become part of our history.”

He went on to say, “we want a free country and it can only be free if they are committed to helping us maintain that freedom.”