Red-Letter Saturday #1 – “Medal of Honor”
On this day, July 12, 1862, the United States Congress authorized the Medal of Honor, which is its highest military honor. It is awarded for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty. It was created early in the American Civil War, and to this date, it has been awarded 3,469 times. More than half of them were presented for actions during the four years of the Civil War.
I have never served my country in a military capacity. My father was a World War II veteran, with the rank of sergeant in the United States Army. It was a subject that he didn’t talk about very often, so to tell you the truth, I don’t know that much about his military career. But it was the first time that I was made aware of the military forces.
The next time I remember being aware of the military was during the Vietnam conflict. Who could forget that? My older sister was dating a young man who was drafted into the military, and I remember how she used to cry herself to sleep each night, worrying that he might never return after being shipped overseas. I was old enough then to realize that soldiers who went off to war sometimes never came back and I discovered exactly why they didn’t come back. I also remember how shocked I was when I first found out why they didn’t come back. I think I lost part of my childhood then.
Fast forward to September 11, 2001, to that fateful day when the twin towers came crashing down, when our world fell apart. We were forced into a new war – a war on terrorism – a war that is still raging on to this very day. We have young soldiers still stationed overseas fighting for our freedom, our rights, our very lives.
These young men and women who fight for our country do so that we may live the way that we want to live. They do so that we may be free to do the things that we want to do, say the things that we want to say, act the way that we want to act, be what we want to be. I am certain that it is no walk in the park. I am certain that it is one of the most difficult things they’ve ever had to do. They are away from everything that they love – their families, their friends, their homes, their jobs – they give it all up to serve their country because they have a strong conviction. They believe it is their duty to defend their country.
And it takes courage. I cannot imagine what it must be like to have bullets flying around you or worrying about being blown up in a mine field. I don’t know if I’d have what it takes. In my opinion, I think every soldier should receive a medal. But to go above and beyond the call of duty? Oh, yes. That absolutely deserves some sort of recognition. And I think that the title, Medal of Honor, is perfect, because we should definitely pay honor to a person who risks their life in this manner, without any regard whatsoever for their own.
And so, today, I would like to thank and salute all the men and women who have served in the military to preserve the freedoms which we hold so dear. I think they are all honorable.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “To be a soldier one needs that special gene, that extra something, that enables a person to jump into one on one combat, something, after all, that is unimaginable to most of us, as we are simply not brave enough.” ~ Rupert Everett
This post is presented as part of my special weekly feature, Red-Letter Saturday. If you’d like to to know more information about Red-Letter Saturday, simply click on the image.