The Medal of Honor: Not all beer and skittles

Being a Medal of Honor recipient places one in one of the most elite military fraternities in the world, with just 70 living members. Created during the Civil War, 3,504 men, and one woman, have been bestowed that honor. Mary Walker, a surgeon during the Battle of Bull Run, was the lone female recipient.

For many, instead of being a reminder of having the highest honor this country can bestow, it is a reminder of the worst day of their lives.

Special Forces medic Ron Shurer, now battling cancer, faces daily decisions about how to divide his remaining time between duty to his young family and duty to the Medal of Honor. Army Capt. Florent Groberg felt ashamed accepting the medal when the men beside him never came home. Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer hates the medal for the memories it won’t let him forget.

“Everybody is going to struggle on how to absorb the weight of the medal when you put it on,” Mr. Shurer says. “I don’t think anybody has received it and not been like, ‘Why me?’”

Over the years in seeing interviews of recipients, to a man humility has been the common denominator. As a WW2 recipient said in an interview, “I am wearing it for those who didn’t return“.

I have often wondered but for a lack of witnesses how many others would also be deserving?

But I never thought of having it as a burden before…

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