Friday, January 14, 2011
JAN 14 HERO WINS COVETED MEDAL OF HONOR
JAN 14 HERO WINS MEDAL OF HONOR
It's a NEW YEAR and that can only mean one thing: It's AWARDS SEASON! And no one gives out more meaningless awards than the Americans. Make no mistake: It's good to be a current American movie star/pro athlete/reality TV celebrity. Not ONLY are you an instant multi-millionaire, BUT you also spend the next ten weekends getting worshipped at galas and banquets across the country. For example, if you're JULIA ROBERTS you'll be at the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) Awards and People's Choice this month. February is the Golden Globes, MTV Movie and BRIT awards. March brings the only legitimate one, The Oscars. If you're a talented musician like LADY GAGA, you'll soon be scooping up Grammys, Billboard's annual achievement awards, Nickolodeon Teen Choice statues and being photographed next to huge, gaudily framed gold records. Heck, even though PEYTON MANNING got knocked out of the NFL Playoffs, he'll still dominate the ESPYS next month!
Which thankfully brings me to my point. With so many awards out there, their individual magnitude is being diluted. Do you really think SANDRA BULLOCK keeps her Best Actress Oscar statue for The Blind Side on the same shelf as her MTV popcorn trophy for 'Best Kiss' in While You Were Sleeping? No way! BUT...there is still one award out there that will never be tarnished: THE MEDAL OF HONOR! Don't be fooled by the simple name...this is one special award. It's the USA's highest military honor. It's only given to one who "conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States." In other words, you can't get this medal by performing a particularly passionate on-screen smooch with Matthew McConnahay!
But the MEDAL OF HONOR never gets the same treatment in the media. It's easier to find the Pepsi Spirit Awards on TV than any official military ceremony. Too bad, because this is one amazing award. First of all, recipients can only be nominated by a commanding officer or by a Congressional motion. Only the serving President can bestow the order in a ceremony regulated by tight protocol which dates back to the first MEDAL OF HONOR, which was issued by ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Abe wanted something more important to truly honor brave Union soldiers who had served heroically to save our great nation. Since then, it is only been given to a select few at any random time. How select? We've sent over 100,000 soldiers to Afghanistan over the last eight years, but only four have received the medal.
Which thankfully brings me to the most recent (and the only living Afghan war vet) to recieve the medal: SALAVADORE GUINTA. He hails from Hiawatha, Iowa and here is his fantastic story: There was a full moon on Oct. 25th, 2007 that shined down in the barren Korengal Valley in Central Afghanistan. Salvadore and his crew quietly patrolled the small villages. Suddenly, from the darkness came a thud. Al-Qaida troops had ambushed Guinta's platoon! Heavy gunfire rained down from all directions on the unsuspecting soldiers, riddling the legs of Sgt. Erick Gallardo. Guinta, the team leader, flew into action. In the distance, he saw two insurgents hurriedly dragging the sergeant's body away. Gallantly, he raced after his friend and into the barrage of enemy fire. Bullets from an AK-47 richoceted off his helmet, others would be embedded onto the rifle on his back. Determined, he finally reached his friend. Guinta drew his weapon and opened fire on the stunned al-Qaida soldiers, killing one instantly. The other fled in panic. Guinta grabbed Gallardo by the vest and dragged him to safety. (See? This guy is a real-life Rambo!)
So as you sit down this month to watch WILL SMITH get slimed with green goo on the Nickeleon Teen Choice Award show, take a minute to think about Salvatore and what America really stands for. Oh yeah...and also think about how awesome it would be to get the coveted MEDAL OF HONOR: You get a large financial stipend for the rest of your life, with cost of living adjustments. You get an automatic invitation to all future Presidential Inaugurations. You get to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery with a ten-gun salute. And here's my personal favorite: All your children get to attend US Military Academies "without regard to the nomination and quota requirements." WOW!
Wait...on second thought...I don't think I'd want to face armed, angry Taliban soldiers at night in the desert. You go, Salvatore!!