September 16th, 2009
MEDAL OF HONOR TRIBUTE
The Medal of Honor serves as the Nation’s Highest Award for Valor. It represents the bravest of the brave and those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Yet, it wasn’t until this week that I truly understood the power and magnitude symbolized by this medallion.
On Thursday and Friday, the White House, Department Of Defense, U.S. Army and the nation will pay homage to SFC Jared C. Monti for his unselfish dedication to protect and defend his fellow Soldiers in time of war.
Being a civilian worker amidst so many Army Personnel, I wanted to learn a little more about the Medal and exactly how someone is chosen for such an honor. So, I began my research. I found the Army’s Medal of Honor micro site, which contained information about the process. But more important, the site included stories of the most recent recipients of the award.
As I clicked through the names, I saw an array of persons; each with a different and life-changing story.
The first story I came across was of SPC. Ross McGinnis (awarded posthumously June 2, 2008) who threw himself onto a grenade thrown into his humvee from above after not being able to deflect it. He sacrificed his body to absorb the impact of the explosion, saving everyone in his humvee and within close proximity of the blast. He was 19 years old.
The next link was the story of SFC Paul R. Smith (awarded posthumously April 4, 2005). On a task to seize Baghdad’s International Airport his brigade was attacked by enemy fire. SFC Smith fired on the advancing enemy from the unprotected position atop the APC and expended at least three boxes of ammunition before being mortally wounded by enemy fire. Sgt. 1st Class Smith’s actions saved the lives of at least 100 Soldiers, caused the failure of a deliberate enemy attack hours after 1st Brigade seized the Baghdad Airport, and resulted in an estimated 20-50 enemy soldiers killed.
As I continued to scroll through the names of the distinguished honorees and read the stories, I could not help but wonder if people actually realize what our men and women do to protect this land in which we live.
They sacrifice, they are selfless, they are brave and they are heroes. Heroes whom have risked their lives, Heroes whom have paid the ultimate price and Heroes who live by the Army’s creed:
I will always place the mission first
I will never accept defeat
I will never quit
I will never leave a fallen comrade
So, this post is dedicated to all the men and women who, on a day to day basis, work to protect us from foreign enemies and protect the soil in which we call America. And to SFC Monti and the other Medal of Honor recipients that have exemplified what it means to be a brave and selfless human being and have gone above and beyond the call of duty; we say thank you.
Visit http://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/monti/ to read about SFC Jared Monti’s story of heriosm and valor.
Posted byashmccallinArmy News, Current Events, Fallen Heroes, Operation Enduring Freedom, Soldier StoriesMedal of Honor, SFC Jared Monti, U.S. Army