For all the serious issues and challenges facing America today it still bears highlighting that the exceptionalism that sets us apart from other developed nations still remains unrivaled. Given our relative young age as a country this is even more noteworthy.
National Ag Day was March 25. But you already knew that. Did you also know that March 25 was National Medal of Honor Day? Had it not been for the Facebook page of the 3rd Infantry Regiment I would not have known either. I did not see this noticed anywhere else. How sad.
It’s easy for an Ag publication such as Western Farm Press to recognize National Ag Day… it’s what we do here. But today I’d like to recognize, albeit a bit after the fact but nevertheless heartfelt, the 3,487 recipients of America’s highest military honor: The Medal of Honor.
How different would our world be without such heroes and the indomitable spirit they embody?
There are 77 living recipients of the Medal of Honor (MOH). Twenty-four men who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam were recently added to the list of recipients after apparently being passed over for the MOH for alleged racial reasons.
“This ceremony reminds us of one of the enduring qualities that make America great, that makes us exceptional,” President Obama is quoted in the Washington Post. “No nation is perfect. But here in America, we confront our imperfections and face a sometimes painful past, including the truth that some of these soldiers fought and died for a country that did not always see them as equal.”
Of the 24 veterans honored in a White House ceremony on March 18, only three are still alive.
They join an elite brotherhood of living recipients that include two who were not even old enough to vote when the World Trade Center came down on Sept. 11, 2001.
Why do I bring this up you ask?
I certainly can’t compare my own military service to this or what others like them faced, though my own service is one I remain proud of. I served in a period of relative calm and peace; though a wall still separated East from West in a country now unified under one German flag.
I bring it up not to draw attention away from National Ag Day and the efforts of the farmers and ranchers who produce the food we eat and fiber we wear. I bring it up because it would be egregious for us not to stop for a moment and salute the courage and bravery of those who earned this nation’s highest military honor.