Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Today Is National Medal of Honor Day

From the website Above and Beyond

Abraham Lincoln created the Medal of Honor which was first presented on March 25, 1863. But too few are aware of this momentous date and all that it stands for, so the Above & Beyond creators proposed that March 25th be set aside every year as a national holiday to commemorate Lincoln’s historic act and remind the American public about the Medal of Honor’s history and ideals.

This idea quickly gained the support of the 105 living Medal of Honor recipients who constitute the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, and legislation was drafted up to put this new holiday on the national calendar. The Bill was introduced in the House of Representatives on January 30, 2007, and was unanimously approved on February 27, 2007. A concurrent Bill was unanimously passed in the Senate on March 1st, 2007, and Senator John Warner announced the creation of this annual day to the American public on March 21st 2007.

March 25th 2007 was the first official National Medal of Honor Day in the United States. Perhaps Gary Littrell, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s President, summed it up best when he stated; “I do not view the 25th of March for the years to come as a day to honor ‘we’ the Medal of Honor recipients,” he said. “I view the 25th of March as a day that we the Medal of Honor recipients can give back to our youth.”
In my youth the Medal of Honor meant one person to me, Audie Murphy. A native Texan, Auide was a legend in Texas even when I was a child in the 70's. If you have seen his biographical film "To Hell and Back" you are somewhat familiar with his exploits on the field of battle. That being said when one reads the citation for his Medal you know the movie doesn't even being to tell the "whole" story.

Audie Murphy
Audie L. Murphy

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company B 1 5th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division.

Place and date: Near Holtzwihr France, 26 January 1945.

Entered service at: Dallas, Tex. Birth: Hunt County, near Kingston, Tex.

G.O. No.. 65, 9 August 1945. Citation 2d Lt. Murphy commanded Company B, which was attacked by 6 tanks and waves of infantry. 2d Lt. Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to prepared positions in a woods, while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him, to his right, 1 of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. Its crew withdrew to the woods. 2d Lt. Murphy continued to direct artillery fire which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, 2d Lt. Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer, which was in danger of blowing up at any moment, and employed its .50 caliber machinegun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to German fire from 3 sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. The enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminate 2d Lt. Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad which was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards, only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound, but ignored it and continued the single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he killed or wounded about 50. 2d Lt. Murphy's indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction, and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy's objective.

This is but one of hundreds of citations like this. Go to THIS SITE and read a few for yourself and wonder like I do...where do we get such men?



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