Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Honoring Clinton Romesha

"courageous and valiant"
2 Samuel 13:28

Clinton Romesha is a hero.

He would probably tell you that's not true.  But he'd be wrong.  And I say that with a great deal of respect.

Romesha served in the United States Army from 1999 - 2011, and was deployed to Kosovo, Iraq (twice) and Afghanistan.  And last month he received the Medal of Honor for "gallantry and boldness" when the base to which he was assigned (in Afghanistan) was attacked.

This is from his Medal of Honor citation:

"Romesha distinguished himself... at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty... moved uncovered under intense enemy fire to conduct a reconnaissance of the battlefield and seek reinforcements from the barracks before returning to action.  He took out an enemy machine gun team... and engaged a second, undeterred by injuries... upon the arrival of another soldier to aid him, he again rushed through the exposed avenue to assemble additional soldiers.  With complete disregard for his own safety, he continually exposed himself to heavy enemy fire... engaging and destroying multiple enemy targets... and maintained radio communications with the tactical operations center..."

And it continues even after that.  The whole thing is available to read online.

Hero, right?

But here are some photos from the day he received his Medal of Honor:

photo credit:  nytimes.com

photo credit:  foxnews.com

photo credit:  huffingtonpost.com

I've seen these ceremonies before, on the news, or in the newspaper, and the honoree often has that same look on his face.   I don't even know how to describe it.  It's not "unhappy" per se.  Maybe it's just hard for him to remember the difficult circumstances in which he earned his citation.  To be honest, it looks like he just wants this ceremony to be over.  True heroes are often humble, and I think they aren't crazy about the attention.  But more than that, they generally don't see themselves as heroes.  The standard line is that the heroes are the ones who don't come home.  And no one can argue with that.

But in my opinion ~ and I'm sure I'm not alone ~ just because a soldier comes home, doesn't mean he's not a hero.  Frankly, whether or not someone is a hero, is not for them to decide.  A hero is who is admired, for their courage or other qualities, and admiration is in the eye of the beholder.

His expression made me a little sad.  It reminded me that I don't have any idea what he went through that day, and that I don't appreciate enough, what our armed forces sacrifice for us. 

I hope, that when Clinton Romesha looks in the mirror, he sees a hero.   But whether he does or not, when I look at these pictures, that's what I see.

~ "Well done, good and faithful servant" ~
Matthew 25:21

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