The term hero gets tossed around quite a bit these days, especially in the entertainment and sports mediums. But, I’ve always thought people who wear helmets in battle should be as revered as those who wear them on a football field. U.S. Army Sgt. Clinton Romesha definitely fits the hero definition: quiet, unimposing and truly brave. Today President Obama awarded Romesha the prestigious Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award. Romesha is only the fourth living recipient of the medal since the Vietnam War.
Romesha received the award for actions he took while wounded during a day-long firefight in Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan in October 2009. More than 300 Taliban attacked Keating from all sides. Only 53 Americans and 2 Latvians occupied Keating at the time. A number of Afghan allies had already abandoned the site. Romesha was wounded while trying to take out a second team of Taliban fighters. Nonetheless, he led a group of his men to recover the bodies of downed American servicemen; moving some 100 yards with a bullet wound.
Romesha left the Army in 2011 and now works in a North Dakota oil field. He’s married with a young son. Watching him earlier today, as he received the medal, it was clear he was emotional; perhaps thinking of his fellow countrymen who died. He’s small in stature and seems somewhat reserved. But, the latter quality is what makes a genuine heroic figure. He’s not brash and arrogant. He’s just a simple man who accomplished an extraordinary feat. Many of these alleged sports heroes could learn from him. So could the rest of us.