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John Pawlak has once again decided the best entre on the menu was his own foot. In his Nov. 13 letter, our prolific editorial campaigner informs us that the Congressional Medal of Honor is not being awarded often enough for war publicity, noting that only two of the most recent eight awards have been for service in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Mr. Pawlak, the problem is by no means a lack of valor on the part of our fighting men and women. I feel confident in proclaiming our troops the bravest and most honorable the world has ever seen. The reason the Medal of Honor is not awarded with the frequency fitting the scheduling ideals of some in our community is because doing so would cheapen and belittle the award.
The Medal of Honor is the single highest award our country can bestow on an individual, bar none. Technically, it is an even higher award than the Presidential Medal of Freedom – www.cmohs.org is dedicated to honoring Medal of Honor recipients. Please, Mr. Pawlak, go to this site and read the citations.
Compare the citation of the most recent Medal of Honor recipient, U.S. Navy Lt, Michael Murphy, to that of one of the recent Medal of Freedom recipients.
During a mission in Afghanistan (in 2005), in an ambush in which his team was outnumbered ten to one, Lt. Murphy crawled from cover directly into the line of enemy fire in order to get a radio signal through the extreme terrain back to headquarters to bring support to his wounded team. This effort cost him his life.
Regardless of your position on the war, the men and women we have serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are performing acts of valor, heroism and bravery every day. There is no question on this point, and records of awards for meritorious service already bear this out. It would be easy to simply blame the media, pointing out that bad news sells, and honoring our heroes is not bad news, but this would still miss the point.
The level necessary to earn the Medal of Honor is by definition an exceptionally rare occurrence. The very suggestion that the Medal of Honor should be handed out for publicity or for any but the most sterling examples of valor is a slap in the face to Lt. Murphy, and all recipients before him.