Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A hero has been found

Dom pointed out the really profound tattoo inspired by Michael Monsoor's heroism in Iraq. Monsoor died later in another incident when he fell on a grenade to save the three more fellow soldiers. Medal of Honor::By Jeff Emanuel

A couple of hours later, an insurgency fighter closed on the overwatch position and threw a fragment grenade into the overwatch position which hit Monsoor in the chest before falling in front of him. Monsoor yelled "Grenade!" and dropped on top of the grenade prior to it exploding. Monsoor's body shielded the others from the brunt of the fragmentation blast and two other SEALs were only wounded by the remaining blast.

One of the key aspects of this incident was the way the overwatch position was structured. There was only one access point for entry or exit and Monsoor was the only one who could have saved himself from harm. Instead, knowing what the outcome could be, he fell on the grenade to save the others from harm. Monsoor and the two injured were evacuated to the combat outpost battalion aid station where Monsoor died approximately 30 minutes after the incident from injuries sustained by the grenade blast.

The final paragraph says it all regarding the depth and the magnitude of Monsoor's sacrifice. Due to the orientation of the room, and the location of its only exit, he was the only person who could have escaped in time to survive. Doing so, though, would have meant abandoning the others in the room to grievous injury or, more likely, to death. Knowing both courses of action, and the consequences of each, he had to make a split-second decision. As was so eloquently and succinctly put by the Chicago Tribune’s Kristen Scharnberg:

The men who were there that day say they could see the options flicker across Michael Monsoor's face: save himself or save the men he had long considered brothers.

He chose them.

The decision was made in less than an instant – and those whose lives would have ended that day but for Monsoor's action will carry a weighty gratitude for as long as they live.

In April of 2004, 24-year-old Marine Corporal Jason Dunham made a similar sacrifice, as he jumped on a grenade to save the lives of his comrades. His father described the impulse - and the decision - to give his life for his comrades thus:

When you are in a war situation, that guy beside you is your brother or sister. And I think that most of us would give up our lives for our family.

Over two years later, Dunham was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his selfless, heroic sacrifice. Now, three months after he gave his life for his teammates, Monsoor has been nominated for a Medal of Honor of his own.

It is men like Michael Monsoor and Jason Dunham who provide us with an embodiment of John 15:13, which says, “Greater love hath no man than this - that he lay down his life for his friends.”

The mindset that allows – or compels – a man to put himself into harm's way for the purpose of saving another is difficult to describe; however, such selflessness – and such love for one's fellow man – is a defining characteristic of the soldier, the sailor, the airman, and the Marine who has faced combat, and who has experienced the reality of having his life entirely in the hands of the men next to him, while having each of those in his own hands.

I am not so sure I agree with Corporal Dunham's father. Take the Va. Tech shootings for example, where were the Monsoors or Dunhams there? Or have we sent all our good men off to die in a foreign police action? I think we know where to find the missing men that so many have blogged about following the Va. Tech tragedy.

Of course, even an article on the Townhall has to have one moronic comment.
A combat situation has not a whole lot to do with patriotism or the folks back home...They are fighting for their buddies. They don't want to let their buddies down.
I think it has little to do with "letting their buddies down" and more to do with being trained to do what men should do; protect others and save lives. Man does not die to avoid the shame of letting someone down. But a man will die for a cause, to better the world or rid it of some evil. Man will die to save others.

There were very few men at Va. Tech that we heard about. One old professor that died to give others a chance to escape, but not surprisingly, the university didn't offer up too many heroes to jump on the live grenade.

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