Third Afghanistan Medal of Honor goes to Green Beret
Earlier today, President Obama honored Staff Sgt. Robert Miller with the country's highest award for valor. Miller, a member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, was the third veteran of the Afghanistan conflict to recieve the award. In the instance that led to his Medal of Honor, Miller saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers during a night patrol in Afghanistan in January 2008. When his combined patrol of U.S. and Afghan troops was attacked by insurgents, Miller didn't hesitate to continue advancing against them, even after being wounded twice in the chest. He provided invaluable cover that allowed his wounded teammates to recieve medical treatment.
In a White House ceremony, the commander-in-chief told Miller's family that the soldier was "born to lead" and showed extraordinary courage, according to the Associated Press. USA Today reports that more than 100 of Miller's family and friends were in attendance.
I've heard plenty of Medal of Honor stories before, and they never fail to move me. But Miller's story hit particularly close to home. Being married to a soldier, and knowing so many people in the military, I couldn't help but be moved by the possibility that someone of Miller's caliber could be serving alongside people I know. It's certainly a comforting thought in a time when comforting thoughts aren't always easy to come by. The level of dedication that Miller--and so many other service members--brought to his work is inspiring, especially when so many of us tend to be cynical about our jobs. He clearly believed in what he was doing, and there's something refreshing about that.
I'm well aware that not everyone will be as moved by Miller's story as I am, and that's OK. Some people will probably view it as tragic, and some may even employ it in political conversations. But whether you agree with Miller's actions or with the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan is beside the point. What is important here is that a young man of only 24 years old made the ultimate sacrifice in order to ensure that the rest of us--even those who disagree--are free to express any opinion we like on the conflict that took his life. And that is worth writing about.
Photo credit: flickr.com, "mountainbread"