The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor that this nation can give to those who have served in combat in the uniforms of the United States military. It is a recognition of the highest forms of selfless valor carried out in the midst of the terrors of combat.
Every man or woman who has served in combat is already ranked high in the annals of heroism for they have all “seen the elephant,” in the midst of the unbelievable terrors and chaos of combat. Despite this, they overcame and and carried on against the natural fears that human beings have for suffering and death. For it truly is an act of heroism to simply go into battle, to confront the enemy and to put one’s life on the line.
Most have done so, not for some abstract idea, but to defend those on either side of them in the immediacy of that hell. But in the midst of battle, there are occasions when the actions of a particular combatant stand above the others, that are recognized and are deeply inspiring to those who witness it, those whose lives are saved, because of the uncommon valor of one of their own.
It is to these that the Medal of Honor is given.
As you will see in this video, those who are awarded the Medal of Honor are, to a person, humble and unassuming individuals. They know what it’s all about. They know what this award means. Listen to each one of them, especially the last speaker and you, too, will be humbled by the stunning selflessness of each one of them.
There are a few words that stand out as you listen to this video. Words like character and commitment. Each of these Medal of Honor recipients are, in their own unique ways, examples of those words.
These recipients are also aware that this award does not just belong to them, but to all those with whom they served on the field of battle on that day. Yet, these Medal of Honor recipients show us something even bigger than their heroism on the battlefield too; they show us that the real source of success, the real source of happiness in this life is to live your life for the good of others.
There is something more important than just yourself. In this sense they are a true sign of contradiction in these often selfishly egocentric times.
The Veterans Site wishes to express its deepest gratitude to all who wear the Medal of Honor. You show us our better selves and we are humbled and encouraged by your example.
Thank you for your service
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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.