I respectfully disagree.
Today, I wanted to make special mention of Sergeant Dakota Meyer of the United States Marine Corps, who will become the first living Marine in almost 40 years to receive our nation’s highest military decoration.
During the battle of Ganjigal, facing heavy fire from dozens of Taliban insurgents, then-Corporal Meyer braved bullets, mortar fire, and a shrapnel wound to his arm to rescue 13 U.S. Marines and 23 Afghan soldiers.
His bravery has earned him a sort of celebrity that comes with a bitter price: a near-constant reminder of his four brother-in-arms who didn’t make it home alive. As he told the American Forces Press Services earlier this year, “There’s not a day — not a second — that goes by [when] I don’t think about what happened that day. I didn’t just lose four [colleagues] that day; I lost four brothers.” Since then, he has stopped talking to the press about his experience that day.
So with apologies to Sergeant Meyer, I make mention of his courage and the sacrifice of his four comrades. I am constantly overwhelmed by the guts and sacrifice it takes to serve our country in battle. This appreciation comes in contrast to much of what’s been discussed about why we’re fighting in Afghanistan. I wouldn’t presume to tell you whether or not we’re winning, because I’m not sure what victory even means, anymore. But when all’s said and done, men and women such as Dakota Meyer provide a powerful lesson of who our soldiers and Marines really are, how they comport themselves under the most intense pressure imaginable and what their service ought to mean to us.
I’ll spare you the hysterically bright red, whites and blues that are often painted by good intentions and political agendas. Occasions such as the presentation of a Medal of Honor to a living service member tend to produce a lot of flag waving nonsense. Understand, I’m not writing this post to argue for or against our mission in Afghanistan. Rather, I’ll simply offer a brief and sincere ‘thank you’ to all the men and women in uniform, in recognition of Sergeant Meyer’s heroism.