To the Editor:
Between June 14 (Flag Day) and July 4 (Independence Day), I’m responding to several recent editorials and letters to the editor.
They spoke true and “kudos” to American Legion Post 13 for its annual “retirement ceremony” of our older, unserviceable U.S. flags.
Not long ago, a major national news magazine confused the Medal of Honor (MOH) with the lesser civilian Medal of Freedom (MOF).
The MOF is awarded, by the president to anyone, at his discretion (usually 30-40 a year, since it was begun by President Kennedy).
While prestigious (honorees include Bob Hope, John Wayne, and Muhammad Ali), in no way, does the MOF compare to the MOH.
Since the Civil War, the MOH has been presented, by Act of Congress, “For conspicuous gallantry ... above and beyond the call of duty.”
Now awarded, by the president, in the name of Congress, “for actual combat against an opposing armed force,” criteria have changed.
CDR Richard Byrd, Navy, got one, for flying over the North Pole, and CAPT Charles Lindbergh, Army, for solo flight across the Atlantic.
Of the millions of Americans, who served in uniform, there have been only 3,461 recipients (19 twice!) of our highest award for valor.
Dr. Mary Walker, at the Battle of Gettysburg and other major conflicts (Civil War), was a woman and only 79 recipients are now living.
Three local recipients (all posthumous) of the Medal of Honor should be mentioned and remembered (for details, visit CMOHS.org):
SSGT Jonah E. Kelley, Army (World War II), of Keyser, W.Va.; Killed In Action, Kesternich, Germany; Jan. 30-31, 1945.
SSGT William E. Shuck Jr., Marine Corps (Korean War), of Ridgeley, W.Va.; Killed In Action, In Korea; July 3, 1952.
SSGT Robert W. Hartsock, Army (Vietnam War), of Flintstone, Md.; Killed In Action, Hau Nghia Province; Feb. 23, 1969.
Also, remember another young man and “unsung hero,” who was serving overseas, onboard USS Arizona (BB-39), that fateful day ... SF3 Victor C. Tambolleo, Navy (World War II), of Cumberland, Md.; Killed in Action, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Dec. 7, 1941.
I’ve named only a few, who have gone before, but “All Gave Some and Some Gave All” in a way that truly humbles the rest of us.
Steven J. Herbaugh