Sunday, April 10, 2005
Later that week, a very inspiring event underscored the true meaning of Fidelity.
The Army sponsored a tour throughout the Southwest Asia of Medal of Honor recipients. The awardees who visited were Jack H. Jacobs, US Army; Gary Lee Littrell, US Army; John J. McGinty III, USMC; Leo K. Thorness, USAF; and Thomas R. Norris, US Navy. (Follow the link to an army web page to find their citations.)
These gentlemen were awe-inspiring. (I'd say "awesome," but I wouldn't want my younger readers to mistake how I mean that word with how it is used nowadays.) Every one of them spoke with humor and humility, each insisted that they accepted and carried the Medal proudly, but only on behalf of all their brothers in arms who fell on the day of their gallantry. And each praised and praised our service in this time of our country's need.
Each man was missing some part or other, eye, flesh, muscle, and each bore parts not original due to reconstruction or surgery. Their stories were different, but each involved great sacrifice and selfless devotion to their fellow soldiers, airmen, sailors, or marines, and each took up the mantle of leadership amid chaos, death, and fear. Each earned their medal in Vietnam, and knew the bitter cost of a country that could not appreciate their service then.
And they were supremely faithful in their allegiance, they showed incredible fidelity towards their country's service and toward their fellow men.
They were patient with all of us, giving autographs, shaking hands, signing footballs (I'm not even sure what that was all about, but they gave footballs away to the soldiers for these heroes to sign.) They stayed with us up to the very last minute of their stay, never ceasing to thank us on behalf of our country. Thanking us for our service, remarking how as reservists and guardsmen, we had complete other lives to maintain and support, how much more of a sacrifice that could be.
And many of us in return could only thank them for their service. We of this war receive a tremendous amount of attention, encouragement, and support. I'm not sure how any of us would measure up to these men. They performed their acts of greatest fidelity, and received scorn and shunning in return. And yet they continued to serve, and continue to serve yet.
Gentlemen of the Medal of Honor, we humbly thank you for your service to your country. We owe you all the deepest gratitude and respect.
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