Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Today is Medal of Honor Day

Yes, today is the day to honor and remember those that received the Medal of Honor, the highest award any soldier in the US military could receive. Michael Ledeen reminds us of this today and points us to a letter penned by recipient Mike Thornton:

Sailor John Finn manned an exposed a.50-caliber machinegun at Pearl Harbor. Wounded many times by strafing Japanese planes, he stayed at his post returning fire with telling effect.

He is World War II’s first Medal of Honor recipient. He is with us at 98, and is one of only 105 living men who earned our nation’s highest tribute for valor under fire.

I am one of them.Today, as our country marks the first anniversary of National Medal of Honor Day, the date the first medals were awarded during the Civil War, I and the other living recipients are humbled by this remembrance. We thank the nation and welcome this day on behalf of the 3,446 before us and the untold others who will follow.

Each of us has a story of valor. Each of us had a different reason at that moment or days of courage – but remarkably it is also the same underlying reason.

Our reason was to defend and help the other man in the foxhole, on the ridge, in the boat, the ship, the fighter plane, the bomber, the helicopter – and some of us for unflinching courage and leadership as prisoners of war, one of whom was Vice Admiral James Stockdale, one of the most highly decorated officers in the Navy’s history, who passed in July 2005.

We wear the Medal of Honor for those who served at our sides and died bravely in defense of our nation.

So, who are we?

We are ordinary men. We come from across the nation, from different social backgrounds, different occupations and professions, different religions, different races, different political philosophies. But we have four things in common – putting another ahead of ourselves, represented by the Medal of Honor, a devotion to freedom, a love of country, and a humbleness that surprises those we meet.

As members of the Medal of Honor Society we meet a lot of people. Our role is to reach out to our nation’s youth, to explain to them patriotism and the nature of heroism. That nature is selflessness, and we are as proud of that as we are of the Medal of Honor we wear. In our travels we talk to students, and we can tell you the future of our nation is in good hands.

We see selflessness every day in the deeds of men and women who wear our nation’s uniforms, who are at this minute sacrificing and serving our nation valiantly.

Two of them, Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham and Lt. Michael Murphy, a Navy Seal, exhibited selflessness defending their comrades in Iraq and Afghanistan and joined the society posthumously in 2007.

They, like many others, fought and gave their lives because they were there, because it was, to them, the thing to do at the moment.

National Medal of Honor Day is not a celebration. It is a solemn time to remember not only those of us who received the Medal of Honor but also a time to reflect on the freedom we enjoy and its price.

Michael Ledeen also gives us how Mr. Thornton won his medal:

Thornton, as Assistant U.S. Navy Advisor, along with a U.S. Navy lieutenant serving as Senior Advisor, accompanied a 3-man Vietnamese Navy SEAL patrol on an intelligence gathering and prisoner capture operation against an enemy-occupied naval river base. Launched from a Vietnamese Navy junk in a rubber boat, the patrol reached land and was continuing on foot toward its objective when it suddenly came under heavy fire from a numerically superior force. The patrol called in naval gunfire support and then engaged the enemy in a fierce firefight, accounting for many enemy casualties before moving back to the waterline to prevent encirclement. Upon learning that the Senior Advisor had been hit by enemy fire and was believed to be dead, PO Thornton returned through a hail of fire to the lieutenant's last position; quickly disposed of 2 enemy soldiers about to overrun the position, and succeeded in removing the seriously wounded and unconscious Senior Naval Advisor to the water's edge. He then inflated the lieutenant's lifejacket and towed him seaward for approximately 2 hours until picked up by support craft. By his extraordinary courage and perseverance, PO Thornton was directly responsible for saving the life of his superior officer and enabling the safe extraction of all patrol members, thereby upholding the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Each and every recipient of this medal has shown valor, courage, and heroism in ways that most people can't fathom. They have always put themselves second, their comrades first. In fact, it was recently announced that Michael Monsoor, a US Navy SEAL in Iraq will receive the CMH posthumously. His family will be presented with the medal on 8 April at the White House. What did Petty Officer Monsoor do to win this medal? "Greater love hath no man ..."

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor had been near the only door to the rooftop structure Sept. 29 when the grenade hit him in the chest and bounced to the floor, said four SEALs who spoke to The Associated Press this week on condition of anonymity because their work requires their identities to remain secret.

"He never took his eye off the grenade, his only movement was down toward it," said a 28-year-old lieutenant who sustained shrapnel wounds to both legs that day. "He undoubtedly saved mine and the other SEALs' lives, and we owe him."

Monsoor, a 25-year-old gunner, was killed in the explosion in Ramadi, west of Baghdad. He was only the second SEAL to die in Iraq since the war began.

Two SEALs next to Monsoor were injured; another who was 10 to 15 feet from the blast was unhurt. The four had been working with Iraqi soldiers providing sniper security while U.S. and Iraqi forces conducted missions in the area.

Take time out today to remember these heroes. Stop by the CMH website and read about the recipients of this hallowed award. These people are owed the utmost respect. They put their lives on the line, and tapped their inner strength to achieve the improbable against impossible odds.

Publius II


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