Sunday, May 28, 2006

Valor

Well, for Memorial Day, a free, Medal Of Honor Coloring Book sounded like a good thing to me.

Then I took a look.

If you were a child who didn't know what the Medal of Honor was for, after coloring the pages of this free book, you'd know:

  • Blacks have received the Medal of Honor
  • Indians have received the Medal of Honor
  • Only one woman has received the Medal of Honor
  • Civilians have received the Medal of Honor
  • Children have received the Medal of Honor
  • The Medal of Honor dates back to the Civil War.
  • President Truman always presented Medals of Honor with great respect and admiration for the men who earned it. (Other Presidents didn't?)

And little else.

Jeez. What's next? Something to teach kids that the Medal of Honor has been awarded to Hispanics, or disabled Americans, or Japanese-Americans, or pacifist-Americans, or Ruritanian-Americans, or even non-Americans?

Its theme of diversity über alles seems to go out of its way to avoid what the Medal of Honor is about:
You get a Medal of Honor by being a war hero. It's an award to an individual, not a group.

You get it for doing something in combat that's miraculously brave and important. Often, you die getting it. Often, you also kill other people who are trying to kill you and all the men around you. Lots of people have to see you do whatever earns it, and live to testify.

It's America's highest, rarest, most prestigious combat medal. You're statistically less likely to meet someone who has one than you are to meet someone who has a Nobel prize.

It's Memorial Day, for heaven's sake. Go on: name a Medal of Honor recipient. One.

It's usually ordinary people who rise to extraordinary actions.
My father found himself seated, in a train, across from a Sergeant wearing a Distinguished Service Cross, an award one step down from a Medal of Honor. Pointing at his own Distinguished Flying Cross (an award not to be sneezed at), my father said, "Hey. I'll trade you."

The Sergeant said, "Hell, Major, I was just defending myself as fast as I could."

Even with its PC emphasis, I suspect if I took the coloring books down to the Memorial Day Boulder Creek Festival, or my local elementary school, and offered them to school children, I'd quickly be surrounded by a flock of adults saying, "Don't question our patriotism, but don't ask us to teach children any, either."

Better to teach them fake Thomas Jefferson quotes. They can wait until they're adults to read
New York Times and learn about the Purple Star.

Update:
It gets better. Today, the NYT is back with everyone's favorite Winter Soldier, John F. Kerry, and the Blogosphere Full Employment Act of 2006.

Perhaps this act of anti-vet nostalgia was encouraged by Jesse Macbeth's recent attempt to pull a Kerry.

Recent, unsuccessful attempt. Unfortunately for Macbeth, Kerry, and the New York Times, Memorial Day brings back real memories for a lot of us, too.

This post in memory of Lance Corporal David Belver, 26th Marines, KIA 23 February, 1969. Not a Medal of Honor winner, but still a valiant Marine.

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