This amazing lineup went on and on. There was a posthumous award for the late Chris Kyle (the co-author of American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History), whose parents, Wayne and Deby Kyle, came to receive the award for their son. There was a toast to the 80 Doolittle Raiders of WWII, as three of the four surviving Raiders — now in their nineties — gathered elsewhere, at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, in Dayton, Ohio, to raise a toast with a bottle of cognac bequeathed to them by Doolittle, and laid down in 1896, the year of his birth.
And at the AVC Honors dinner in Washington, there were also a great many men and women now serving in our military, or preparing to do so.
My husband and I had the privilege of attending this occasion, and there is one comment I will make. While the Master of Ceremonies told some of the incredible stories that went with the awards, the recipients themselves — as well as the assembled crowd — were some of the most modest people you will ever meet, especially in Washington. They did not strut, they did not boast. They did not make it all about themselves. They honored those who fought with them, and they honored the country they fought for. Romesha’s remarks sum it up. He said he was accepting the award not for himself, but for the eight soldiers at Combat Outpost Keating that day who did not make it home. These award winners, and the people applauding them, were not celebrating fame, or glory. It was about something much more than that. It was about keeping faith, and, in a moment when it profoundly matters, rising to meet the test.