Peter Collier reminds us who it is we should be remembering on Memorial Day:
Those who had given all their tomorrows for our todays (as was said of the men who stormed the beaches of Normandy).The thesis of the article is that our country has become ashamed of its warriors. It's okay to be a victim, but being a fighting hero is no longer a good thing. War heroes are featured far less prominently in the New York Times, for example, than the stories of Abu Ghraib that graced the front pages for months.
Mr. Collier interviewed our living Medal of Honor recipients to write the text for a book of photographs, Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty. He talked to our American living heroes, men relegated now to the "back pages of our national consciousness."
His story in the Weekend Edition of the Wall Street Journal recounts the likes of Jose Lopez, a Mexican American from the barrio of San Antonio who was in the Ardennes forest at the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge. As the Germans approached his unit, Mr. Lopez grabbed a machine gun and opened fire, killing over 100 of the enemy, buying his comrades time to defend their line, to live.
And there's the story of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who became a medic but refused to carry a weapon to war. When the Japanese routed his unit in Okinawa he remained behind as everyone scattered. He moved the wounded, one at a time, to a steep escarpment where he roped them down to safety. He saved 75 men.
Then there's Jack Lucas, who at the age of 14 convinced his mother that if she would just let him join the army he would return to finish school. On the way to Iwo Jima he was supposed to be on guard duty but stowed away to be with his friends. He found himself in combat on the beach. When 2 grenades landed near his comrades he threw himself onto them, absorbing the explosion. Left for dead, a medic noticed his finger twitch and rescued him. After a long recovery, Mr. Lucas wore a Medal of Honor around his neck when he entered his first year of high school.
There are many more of these stories.
I know, I've rarely taken a political stance on this blog, never talked about the war in Iraq. This is a therapy blog and you know it. It's about having the strength, the coping strategies, and the resources to overcome life's grenades, great and small.
But I have to tell you what Mr. Collier told me at the end of that article (which you should read in its entirety, of course).
We're the land of the free for one reason only: We're also the home of the brave.Yes, it's the theme of the month. Thanks for reminding us, WSJ.