Are there no heroes?

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By John Pawlak

Dear Editor,

This week, President Bush presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to eight people in recognition to their contributions in the arts, sciences and the pursuit of freedom. This award is the highest civilian award given by the White House.

But little has been said about the Congressional Medal of Honor – the highest award for bravery and valor in action against an enemy force, given to soldiers serving in the Armed Services of the United States. With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan now over six years in force and with more than 27,000 wounded and nearly 4,300 killed, we certainly have more than enough valor and bravery to recognize.

Or do we? Since our initial invasion of Afghanistan, Congress has awarded eight Medals of Honor. And of those eight, only two of them were for service in Afghanistan and Iraq. The others were for Vietnam, Korea and the Civil War.

So in the past six years, only two servicemen have distinguished themselves in the battle against terrorism? Only two people have shown enough bravery and valor to be recognized as such?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I am totally against this war. It will bear no good and our children will be paying for it, both financially and politically for the next 20 years. But I do strongly feel that those people who are fighting over there, who are serving our nation in this effort and who are dying deserve more than a nod and a thank you from our leaders.

Are there no heroes? Is there no valor worthy of note? Over six years of unspeakable conditions and our leaders say that two people have shown exceptional valor? I can’t even begin to imagine the bravery and valor it takes for the average soldier to be over in Iraq or Afghanistan right now.

Maybe our leaders should spend a little less time on vacations and a little more time over in Iraq and Afghanistan. They just might learn what valor truly is.

John Pawlak

Los Alamos