google-site-verification: google0e688bd979c6ae6e.html The Preferred Life: Honoring Our Veterans

Monday, November 12, 2012

Honoring Our Veterans

Sergeant William H. Carney was born on February 29, 1840 in Norfolk, VA. He escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad and found his father living in Massachusetts. He and his father bought the rest of his family out of slavery. During the American Civil War, William enlisted with the Massachusetts Regiment after meeting a white man named William Carney, who gave him his last name so that he could enlist. Carney, of Company C, 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (colored) was the first African American to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. He earned the medal for action at Fort Wagner, SC on July 18, 1863. He received the Medal of Honor for saving the American flag and planting it on the parapet after being wounded several times. Upon returning to Union lines, he turned over the colors to another survivor of the 54th, saying “Boys, I only did my duty, the old flag never touched the ground.” The Medal of Honor was not issued to Sergeant William Harvey Carney until May 23, 1900, 37 years later.

Joseph Medicine Crow-High Bird was born October 27, 1913 near Lodge Grass, Montana. He is a renowned Crow historian, anthropologist, and author. Crow-High Bird joined the army, becoming a scout in the 103rd Infantry Division. He completed all four tasks required to become a War Chief while fighting in WWII. Those tasks included (1) disarming the German enemy and (2) defeating him in hand-to-hand combat, and he led a successful war party (3) stealing an enemy horse, (4) and made a midnight raid to steal horses from a battalion of German officers. He is the last member of the Crow tribe to become a War Chief. On June 25, 2008, he received two military decorations, the Bronze Star and the L├Ęgion d’honneur. Senators Max Baucus, Jon Tester, and Mike Enzi introduced a bill to award him the Congressional Gold Medal; however, the bill did not garner the required sponsorship of two-thirds of the Senate to move forward Congressional Gold Medal legislation. On August 12, 2009, Joseph Medicine Crow-High Bird received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the U.S.A.’s highest civilian honor) from President Barack Obama. Mr. Crow-High Bird turned 99 years old on October 27, 2012.

Senator Daniel Ken Inouye was born September 7, 1924 in Honolulu, HI. He is the senior United States Senator from Hawaii, a member of the Democratic Party, and the President pro tempore of the U.S. Senate making him the highest-ranking Asian American politician in U.S. history. At the age of 88, Inouye is the second-oldest current U.S. senator, after 88 year old Frank Lautenburg of New Jersey. He is also a WWII Medal of Honor recipient. Inouye was at the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941. When the U.S. Army dropped its ban on Japanese-Americans in 1943, Inouye enlisted in the Army. He was assigned to the Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team which is considered to be the most decorated infantry regiment in U.S. Army history. When fighting in France and Italy, two silver dollars, several grenades, and the Thompson submachine gun were Inouye’s weapons of choice. In the Vosges Mountains region of France, where his regiment was sent to relieve the Lost Battalion of the 141st Infantry Regiment, Inouye had 2 silver dollars stacked in his shirt pocket stopping a bullet from piercing his chest directly above the heart. During an assault led by Inouye on a ridge near San Terenzo in Tuscany, Italy, Germans opened fire from three covered positions and shot him in the stomach. Ignoring his wound, Inouye proceeded to attack and destroy the first gun nest with hand grenades and his Thompson submachine gun. Still refusing treatment, the second enemy gun post was destroyed by the 442nd. Crawling within 10 yards of the final German bunker, Inouye was shot in the right elbow which held his last, cocked grenade. With most of his arm severed, Inouye demanded that his soldiers keep back, and he pried the live grenade from his right hand with his left. As the German aimed his rifle to kill Inouye, he tossed the grenade with his left hand and destroyed the bunker. Inouye’s right arm was amputated in a field hospital without proper anesthesia. He had been given too much morphine and it was feared that any more would lower his blood pressure enough to kill him. While foregoing his career goals as a surgeon due to his war injuries, Senator Daniel Ken Inouye received his degree in Political Science under the GI Bill, followed by a law degree from George Washington University Law School.

This is how America was built! Thank you.

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