American Opinion: Three Medal of Honor recipients represent the best of America
American Opinion: Three humble soldiers who sacrificed for their brethren in good faith: America owes them not only thanks, but an honest attempt, even in small ways, to emulate their example.
America ’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are over, but the actions of many of the troops who served can continue to uplift a fractious nation. President Joe Biden last week paid tribute to three such soldiers with the Medal of Honor.
In October 2005 in Samarra, Iraq, Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe was in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle that was struck by an improvised explosive device, engulfing it in flames. Despite being burned more than three-quarters of his body, despite continuing enemy fire, Cashe rescued six soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter. A month later, he would die from those burns.
A fact to take to heart: Despite the fact that 16% of the active-duty military is Black, Cashe is the first African-American recipient of the medal since 9/11, a period during which 28 servicemen have been so honored.
The second soldier paid posthumous tribute was Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Celiz . In Afghanistan’s Paktia Province in July 2018, the Army Ranger, in his fifth deployment, led a small unit to clear an area of enemy forces; it ended in an onslaught of gunfire. Celiz exposed himself to the fusillade as he secured a heavy weapon system and bought his unit precious time to reach cover, enabling a wounded comrade to get to a medical evacuation helicopter. He died soon thereafter of his wounds. (Celiz happens to be the first Jewish Medal of Honor recipient since 9/11.)
One soldier was at the White House to have the medal hung around his neck. In the summer of 2013, Master Sgt. Earl Plumlee was a Green Beret serving in Afghanistan’s Forward Operating Base Ghazni when it came under attack. An explosion ripped open the perimeter wall, and 10 armed insurgents wearing suicide vests rushed in. Plumlee then engaged the enemy fighters, killing multiple insurgents in an elaborate gunfight and saving many American lives.
Three humble soldiers who sacrificed for their brethren in good faith: America owes them not only thanks, but an honest attempt, even in small ways, to emulate their example.
This American Opinion editorial is the opinion of the editorial board of the New York Daily News.
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