9/27/2005

The Lives of the Unknowns

In the military cemetery at Arlington, Virginia stands perhaps the most impressive of our national monuments. Inscribed on the monument are these words: "Here Rests In Honored Glory An American Soldier, Known But To God." If watching the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns doesn't stir your emotions, you are what Sir Walter Scott called "a man with soul so dead." The unchanging granite and the unwavering guards stand as a tribute to all those who died for their country without notice or attention...except for the grief of those left behind.

Yesterday in one of the most moving events I've ever heard on the radio, Hugh Hewitt interviewed members of the Medal of Honor Society. It's hard to come to attention and salute while driving, but I sure wanted to! These men who won our nation's highest honor were humble, matter-of-fact and almost laconic as they described their acts of courage and sacrifice. They were reluctant to talk about themselves (though quite willing to brag on their wives and children). In reality, these heroes are nearly as unknown as the men lying in rest at Arlington.

Many of these great heroes have "faded away" now. Only one MOH winner from the Normandy campaign still survives. Three are left from the Battle of the Bulge. Soon they too will lie in silent repose. Yet our gratitude must never wane. The Medal of Honor Foundation has published a new book Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty highlighting their stories. It's time for the lives of these heroes to become well-known, and this is certainly a good first step.

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