COLUMBIA – As he stood in front of four World War II-era paintings, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., discussed his proposed bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Monuments Men.
Blunt addressed a crowd made up mostly of historians Friday morning at the State Historical Society in MU's Ellis Library.
The Monuments Men was a group of about 350 men and women, including several with Missouri ties, that saved about 5 million artifacts that were stolen by Nazis.
The medal would serve as a reminder of the group's enormous contributions to art conservation, Blunt said.
Recognizing the famous conservators also honors their modern-day counterparts, said Joan Stack, curator of art collections at the State Historical Society.
"Very rarely are we validated for what we do,"Stack said.
Only five of the 350 men and women who made up the Monuments Men are still alive.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the "highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions," according to senate.gov.