February 26, 2005


I finally got that foot locker open, with the help of the bolt cutters Red 6 borrowed from the unit. Inside was everything my husband sent home from Iraq: 15 books, a couple of presents I had sent, a Gortex jacket and some TA-50, an Iraqi flag, a John Wayne DVD, and the medal my husband was awarded. Thrown in the bottom of the foot locker like an aftersight.

Red 6 wondered the other day why everyone keeps mentioning the s-word whenever they meet him. I've seen him deflect praise several times already, heaping it upon his crew and his men. He doesn't want to talk about his award, because to him it's not that big of a deal. Same as my husband's.

I told him that to civilians, medals and ribbons are very exciting. We will never understand what goes on in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we can understand that "getting a medal means you did something brave." And we're in awe of bravery, because we've never been asked to do anything with our lives that merits medals.

Remember in Karate Kid II when Daniel makes that beautiful display for Mr. Miyagi's Medal of Honor? (I'm telling you, I can relate anything to the Karate Kid...)

Daniel: I made this for you, it's rosewood. I thought it'd be nice to show them off.
Miyagi: Ah, Daniel-san. Thank you for gift. But why show off?
Daniel: Well, you know, it says something about you, winning the Medal of Honor and all that. It says you're brave. I thought it'd be neat.
Miyagi: (Pats Daniel's chest) This say you brave. (Pats medal) This say you lucky.

That's a pretty accurate portrayal of us dumb civilians. Obviously anyone who thinks medals should be shown off has never been awarded one. I fall squarely into that category, and I just tried to explain to Red 6 that he should keep doing what he's been doing: thanking people for noticing and sharing the glory with his men. When someone mentions the s-word, it's just because they're proud of him. We civilians have a lot of pride we want to share with the troops, it's just sometimes we don't know how.

I also mentioned Den Beste's post on heroism to Red 6; I hope he finds time to read it:

Real heroes know that decorations are only given to those who were lucky enough to be heroic while someone important was watching. Real heroes will have seen many other heroic acts which were never acknowledged by anyone, except by the other members of the team. And ultimately that is the only acknowledgement they truly value, for only their teammates really understand what they went through.

A man who brags about his heroism is no hero.

That's what his wife is for! Medals or no, my husband and Red 6 are my heroes.

Posted by Sarah at February 26, 2005 04:15 PM

Red 6 is right. As is SDB. My stuff is in a box in the attic. I helped Birdie's lovely bride move into an apartment near us last weekend. His are stashed away somewhere, too.

Makes me proud!

Posted by: Mike at February 26, 2005 10:51 PM