The soldier behind the medalon May 28, 2012 @ 9:08 am (Updated: 9:10 am - 5/28/12 )
I met a soldier recently who had received the Medal of Honor. And I wasn't sure what to expect because this is not like winning a Nobel prize, or an Olympic medal. Yes, you have to be very good at what you do to win those. But to be worthy of the Medal of Honor you have to be not just very good at what you do - but also be willing to die doing it.
Sergeant Leroy Petry and his company of Army Rangers were trying to take an enemy-controlled compound in Afghanistan when hidden guns opened up. A bullet hit him in the leg. A nearby grenade knocked them all to the ground, and then he saw another one - an old pineapple grenade - bounce into their midst. And he grabbed it, and he threw it as hard as he could. Jst as he let go his hand and part of his arm vanished in the explosion.
But he told me he didn't feel anything except the need to protect his buddies. So he tied a tourniquet around what was left of his arm, called for help, and got them out of there.
It was intimidating to meet someone - less than half my age - who had that kind of courage. But Sergeant Petry wears a big smile, and he's happy to shake your hand with his new mechanical one. And to demonstrate how, unlike his old hand, this one has a wrist that can turn 360 degrees.
Today he's still in the Army, counseling families who get the same news that his parents did the day he was injured. And he has a request: when you meet someone in uniform, you still say thanks. Maybe a thumbs up. Just to let them know YOU know there's still a war on. It means more than you might think.
Listen to today's full Dave Ross commentary.
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