Medal Of Honor Recipients Honor 'Selfless Citizens'
(March 30, 2011)
|ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, March 28, 2011) - About
30 Medal of Honor recipients gathered at Arlington National
Cemetery March 25 for a ceremony to mark the fourth National
Medal of Honor Day and to recognize several other citizens
who demonstrated selfless service.
Five Medal of Honor
recipients and Commandant of the Marine Corps
Gen. James F. Amos lay a wreath at the Tomb of
the Unknowns on March 25, 2011 in Arlington
National Cemetery for National Medal of Honor
Day. Other recipients of the award stand behind
them. Photo by Adam Skoczylas
Five Medal of Honor recipients and Commandant of the Marine
Corps Gen. James F. Amos laid a wreath at the Tomb of the
Unknowns just after 2 p.m. Friday and also presented the
"Citizen Service Before Self" Honors Awards.
year, the awards are presented during National Medal of
Honor Day to three Americans who have done something
extraordinary for someone else. This year, the award was
presented to Timothy Brooks of Philadelphia, Pa., and to
representatives of Marie Conley of Boston, Mass., and Dr.
Pascal Spino of Greensburg, Pa.
Brooks saved a
mother and her three children stranded in the Delaware River
after their tour boat collided with a barge and sank on July
Conley, a Boston police civilian
school-crossing traffic supervisor, sacrificed her own life
protecting a young boy she was helping to cross the street
on his way to school from an oncoming vehicle. Conley's son,
Marine Corps Cpl. Christopher Conley, accepted the award in
her honor as other family members watched.
recognized for caring for thousands of children during his
60-year career as a pediatrician, providing free healthcare
to those who could not afford it and donating the multiple
medical devices he invented to treat infants. Spino was not
able to attend due to health issues. However, his son,
Domenic Spino, accepted the award on behalf of his father.
Also recognized was Jack Pape, a 17-year-old Boy Scout
from Omaha, Neb., who was presented the Congressional Medal
of Honor Foundations' American Spirit Award for his actions
in 2008 and 2009.
Pape provided first aid to other
injured Boy Scouts when a tornado touched down at the Little
Sioux Scout Ranch in Little Sioux, Iowa, where they were
staying. In 2009 he also performed CPR to a young man who
stopped breathing while at a hotel swimming pool.
"I'm very thankful to receive this award today and I am
honored to be surrounded by heroes as I receive this award,"
With hundreds of onlookers standing at the
Tomb of the Unknowns and a handful of honored guests
attending the ceremony, everyone watched as the four
recipients were honored.
"If you look at the east
side of the [Tomb of the Unknowns] you will see a relief
sculpture of three Greek citizens representing the virtues
of peace, victory and valor," said Amos. "To show the length
between anonymous heroism in and out of uniform, the
Congressional Medal of Honor Society has placed these
figures on the Citizen Service before Self Honors medal."
"It was extremely moving. [It's] wonderful to live
in a country where people are honored by their deeds. I wish
more countries' brave people were respected and honored as
they are in the U.S.," said Beatrice Selby, a resident of
Romania visiting the United States.
Garrett, congressional correspondent for the National
Journal, was the master of ceremonies for the event.
"March 25 - 148 years ago to the day since the Medal of
Honor was first bestowed upon Pvt. Jacob Parrott," said
Amos. "Since that day there have been only 3,454 recipients
of the Congressional Medal of Honor."
Medal of Honor
recipient Harold Fritz said he thinks it's important to
recognize those who don't wear the uniform . He said the
Citizen Service Before Self Honor Award recognizes "those
that perhaps will never wear the uniform or those that have
worn the uniform but are still continuing to look at that
spark, that element within in their grasp."
was awarded the Medal of Honor March 1971 by President
"In my case, I was with a small unit
of mechanized cavalry Soldiers and we got into a very tight
situation," said Fritz.
He was a platoon leader with
the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, near Quan Loi, Vietnam,
when his seven-vehicle armored column was ambushed along
Highway 13. Although his lead vehicle was hit and he was
seriously wounded, according to his citation, Fritz leaped
to the top of the burning vehicle to direct the positioning
of his vehicles.
He ran from vehicle to vehicle to
reposition his men, assist the wounded and distribute
ammunition, to direct fire, and to provide encouragement to
his men. When a strong enemy force assaulted the position
and attempted to overrun it Fritz manned a machine gun.
Fritz said out of the 28 Soldiers present, only five
were able to stand and fight the enemy. Odds of being killed
were high, but many survived and were able to attain a lot
of intelligence from captured enemy fighters.
served with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the
Blackhorse regiment, commanded by then Col. George S. Patton
III, the son of World War II's Gen. George S. Patton Jr.
Only 85 Medal of Honor recipients are still living.
Awarded by the president of the United States, the medal is
the highest award for valor presented to those who serve in
By Chelsea Place
Pentagram Newspaper, Joint Base Myer/Henderson Hall
Army News Service
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