Supporting Those Who Pay Freedom's Price

Present day heroism showcased included that of Navy SEAL Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, who died in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005, while trying to save his team on a mission to find a key Taliban leader, for which President George W. Bush awarded him the Medal of Honor on October 22, 2007.

He was the first serviceman to be so honored for bravery in the present wars.

Michael had thought about law but his family tradition of service drew him to officer candidate school, on the way to earning his SEAL Trident and joining SDV Team ONE where he was the Alpha Platoon Assistant Officer in Charge, deploying in 2005 to Iraq, Africa and Afghanistan.

That day, deep in the Hindu Kush Mountains, Lt. Murphy’s four-man team encountered goat herders, which, under his direction, they let go. Soon thereafter a swarm of Taliban fighters with superior tactical position began attacking them, and Lt. Murphy, in a last ditch effort to save his men, entered the fighting space to get a clear signal and call rescue forces -- losing his life, but enabling rescue of the team’s lone survivor.

Lt. Murphy’s father Daniel recounted the gracious visit he and his wife Maureen had with President Bush the day he awarded their firstborn the Medal of Honor.  After they gave him Michael’s dog tags as a gift, he began to undress -- prompting quizzical looks -- to put them around his neck, then put his shirt, tie and jacket back on, saying “OK, now we’re ready to go.” Later, he broke protocol, grabbing the Murphys onto the red carpet and telling them “Murphs you did good, but I thought I did even better because I had Michael right next to my heart.”

Then, too, often battlefield heroics continue to echo in the hearts and minds of those who fight, as they heal from war’s wounds, discussed in “The Wounded Warrior Experience” forum. All the panelists agreed, often the hardest wounds to deal with are those that are hidden, and shared insight on avoiding depression, which boils down to this: recognize the problem and get help.  As SSgt. Jeremiah Workman (USMC) counseled, giving up is “an 8000 mile sniper shot, another win for the enemy.”

American Veterans Center is a win for freedom and supporting those who pay its price, and rely on your support, especially during the holidays.