Friday, May 23, 2008

Unsung, the Noblest Deed Will Die

Rodney Graves has a piece on the Reader blogs at Say Anything about an Iraqi war Medal of Honor winner, largely unheralded by the Mainstream Media of today. I ran across a another piece at National Review Online, by Mackubin Thomas Owens, titled "Mystic Chords of Memory".

He says, in part:
The sad reality is that Americans have forgotten how to honor their war heroes and to remember their war dead. As “Bing” West observed several years ago in his remarkable book about Fallujah, No True Glory, stories of soldierly courage deserve “to be recorded and read by the next generation. Unsung, the noblest deed will die.”
The posture Americans took toward Memorial Day started to go awry with Vietnam. The press, if not the American people, began to treat soldiers as moral monsters, victims, or both. The “dysfunctional Vietnam vet” became a staple of popular culture. Despite the fact that atrocities were rare, My Lai came to symbolize the entire war. Thanks to the press’s preoccupation with the anomaly of My Lai, Lt. William Calley became the poster boy for Vietnam. The honorable and heroic performance of the vast majority of those who served in Vietnam went largely unrecognized.

For instance, how many Americans know the story of Marine Lieutenant John P. Bobo, who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in Vietnam? Here is part of his citation:

When an exploding enemy mortar round severed Lieutenant Bobo's right leg below the knee, he refused to be evacuated and insisted upon being placed in a firing position to cover the movement of the command group to a better location. With a web belt around his leg serving as a tourniquet and with his leg jammed into the dirt to curtail the bleeding, he remained in this position and delivered devastating fire into the ranks of the enemy attempting to overrun the Marines. Lieutenant Bobo was mortally wounded while firing his weapon into the main point of the enemy attack but his valiant spirit inspired his men to heroic efforts. . . .

The reason for this disparity in coverage is simple. My Lai fit the conventional narrative of the anti-war Left; Bobo’s story did not.

As we remember this weekend, those men of valor, those sons and brothers and fathers and uncles who gave their lives for something greater than themselves, let's remember Lt. Bobo and Pfc. McGinnis and every "dog faced" soldier from here to Valley Forge, and thank God for men like these. And pity anyone who doesn't feel the same.

Cross Posted at Say Anything

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