Saturday, April 11, 2009

Heroes Among Us

There are heroes among us--award-winning heroes, who have fought in wars and done amazing things on behalf of our country. Today, we are one fewer.

It was with sadness that I read this morning about a great man who has passed on, Medal of Honor recipient Russell Dunham. LA Times reports "Russell Dunham, a World War II Army veteran who was awarded the Medal of Honor, the military's highest decoration for valor, after he assaulted three German machine gun emplacements, killed nine German soldiers and took two prisoners, died of congestive heart failure Monday at his home in Godfrey, Ill. He was 89."

I was at the opening of the Medal of Honor Museum aboard the USS Yorktown in Mount Pleasant, SC in 2007 with about 100 Medal of Honor recipients. I can't explain the awe I felt at being around such greatness. It was palpable--the honor, the respect. What an amazing night. So amazing, in fact, that it became a major scene in my latest book, A Hundred Years of Happiness.

Many heroes are not so decorated though. Many are just as humble, but no one really knows about their heroic acts. Perhaps it's your grand uncle who fought in World War II. Perhaps it's your grandfather who was in Korea or your stepfather who was in Vietnam, like mine. These men and women sacrificed for our country. The least we can do is ask them about their experiences, tell them "thank you" for their service, and vow to learn the lessons that come along with the wisdom of everyday heroes. For when these heroes go, so goes their wisdom.

They are, indeed, all around us if we look.

Please support our troops and remember to thank the veteran in your life.

1 comment:

TetVet68 said...

Remember Pearl Harbor -- Keep America Alert!

America's oldest living Medal of Honor recipient, living his 100th year is former enlisted Chief Petty Officer, Aviation Chief Ordnanceman (ACOM), later wartime commissioned Lieutenant John W. Finn, U. S. Navy (Ret.). He is also the last surviving Medal of Honor, "The Day of Infamy", Japanese Attack on the Hawaiian Islands, Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, 7 December 1941.

'Navy Centenarian Sailor', 103 year old, former enlisted Chief Petty Officer, Aviation Chief Radioman (ACRM, Combat Aircrewman), later wartime commissioned Chief Warrant Officer Julio 'Jay' Ereneta, U. S. Navy (Ret.), is a thirty year career veteran of World War One and World War Two. He first flew aircrewman in August 1922; flew rearseat Radioman/Gunner (1920s/1930s) in the tactical air squadrons of the Navy's first aircraft carriers, USS LANGLEY (CV-1) and USS LEXINGTON (CV-2).

Visit my photo album tribute to these veteran shipmates:

San Diego, California