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Claim: Brian Williams Backed Out of Medal of Honor Event Last-Minute to Appear on 'Saturday Night Live

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“I … cannot believe that you left us for this."

Credit: AP

Yet another controversy surrounding embattled NBC News anchor Brian Williams is gaining momentum, and this one might sting military veterans more than Williams' recanted Iraq War helicopter story.

About six months before the Congressional Medal of Honor Society's annual convention in 2006, Williams agreed to act as master of ceremonies for the banquet, according to Boston Herald columnist Peter Gelzinis.

Credit: AP Image source: AP

But when Williams showed up in Boston on the day of the banquet — Saturday, Sept. 30, 2006 — he told committee members Tom Lyons and Neal Santangelo that a “pressing engagement” in New York necessitated his early departure from event, the Herald noted.

In other words, Gelzinis wrote, Williams couldn't do much more than say hello to the 1,000-plus guests and then leave.

More from the Herald:

As disappointed as Lyons and Santangelo were, they still arranged for a police escort to rush Williams through the tunnel to catch his plane back to NYC.

After the banquet, as Santangelo, Lyons and other committee members relaxed in a lounge at the Colonnade Hotel, Neal Santangelo’s wife phoned from their room to say she knew why Brian Williams had to bail out of a Medal of Honor banquet.

Turns out Williams was on the set of "Saturday Night Live" alongside Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler doing a Weekend Update sketch — and Santangelo's wife was watching it on TV.

As you might imagine, Santangelo was angry after hearing about what Williams was doing in Manhattan that night — so he wrote a three-page letter to Williams, the Herald reported, but never sent it:

“I … cannot believe that you left us for this,” Neal Santangelo wrote in a letter to Williams a week after the banquet. “In an act of egotistical, blatant self-promotion, you deceived the (Medal of Honor) Recipients, declined to break bread with them and disrespected them.

“You placed comedy before courage … Your conduct was irreverent, insulting, incomprehensible and shameful. You may attempt to ‘spin’ the issue to support your position, but that will do nothing but bring you further shame in my eyes.”

As to why Santangelo didn't sent the letter, he told the Herald's Gelzinis that he "didn’t want to send it off like some loose cannon." While Santangelo said the local committee "agreed with every word," it was decided that they would clear it with the national Medal of Honor society.

But Santangelo recounted to the Herald that “...what came back to us was, ‘Yes, we agree with what you’re saying, but we don’t want to burn any bridges with this guy.'"

So Santangelo — a Boston firefighter and veteran of the Navy submarine service, the Herald added — kept things under wraps until a few days ago.

Williams still sits on several advisory boards of the Medal of Honor Foundation, an adjunct of the MOH society, the Herald reported, adding that they declined comment on the matter.

NBC News did not immediately respond Monday to a request for comment from TheBlaze regarding this issue, specifically if there were other circumstances surrounding Williams' schedule on Sept. 30, 2006, that haven't been reported.

“You need to apologize to America’s veterans,” Santangelo wrote to Williams on Oct. 5, 2006, the Herald said, “and to the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces defending freedom around the globe. Anything less is unacceptable.”

(H/T: Boston Herald)

This story has been updated.

Follow Dave Urbanski (@DaveVUrbanski) on Twitter

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