"The Gift of Valor" by Micahel M. Phillips
I got inspired to read this story after I read Lessons I Learned in a Combat Hospital. The author of that book told about a man who had come into the hospital injured from a grenade. This is a true story about a marine in Iraq who put his helmet on a grenade to protect his men. The blast caused serious head injuries that he was not able to recover from. Jason Dunham paid the ultimate sacrifice and was given the Medal of Honor for his actions. "The Medal of Honor is the nation's highest award for military valor, saved for those whose actions are considered so self-sacrificing, so risky, so far beyond the requirements of duty that nobody would have criticized them for choosing to do something else instead." I was again humbled by the men and women who serve our country so that I may have the freedoms I enjoy. This was the letter drafted for his award: "Corporal Dunham's courage and sacrifice was far beyond the call of duty. In the confusion of battle he was unhesitant in his leadership and advance toward the enemy. Realizing the enemy possessed a hand grenade Corporal Dunham may have been able to avoid his fatal wounds by simply moving away. However, this was not the way this non-commissioned officer led. There was an enemy to engage and his Marines were in danger. I deeply believe that given the facts and evidence presented he clearly understood the situation and attempted to block the blast of the grenade from his squad members. His personal action was far beyond the call of duty and saved the lives of his fellow Marines. He is worthy of the highest recognition and honor of our nation." "A Marine is taught that he isn't really fighting for a country or an idea; he is fighting for the Marine to the left of him and the Marine to the right of him." This is what Jason Dunham did, this is what he lived. "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. Your son is one of those rough men, and you can be very proud of that." This was told to Jason's parents as he lay dying from his wounds. I am proud of Jason Dunham and all the others like him. I am proud to be part of this county whose sacrifice is so great. It was a great story of what so many of our troops do on a daily basis. My eyes have been opened and I am so greatful and thankful for their service.