11 May 2012

Medal of Honor to be awarded for Vietnam

ZUI this article from the Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette:
"There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty," Alexander Hamilton observed, "that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism."


On May 10, 1970, {Specialist Fourth Class Leslie H] Sabo, a rifleman in Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, was roused to such conspicuous acts of courage that a Congress and president of the United States generations later would be moved to correct an oversight of history.

President Barack Obama will honor Sabo with the posthumous award of the Medal of Honor, making him another hero in a region that has swelled the ranks of conspicuous heroes. Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in Oakland has inducted more than 80 recipients of the Medal of Honor from Western Pennsylvania into its Hall of Valor.


Incredibly, although the medal request was submitted at the time, his paperwork was lost in the bureaucratic labyrinth, only to be found in 1999 by a veteran of the 101st Airborne, who was doing research in the military repository of the National Archives. Even then it took many years of effort, and special legislation by Congress, to do justice to Sabo's forgotten sacrifice.

When the president presents the medal on May 16 to Sabo's widow, Rose Mary Sabo Brown, with his brother George and 50 men from his old unit in attendance, that too can be ascribed to a certain enthusiasm in liberty that lifts human nature above the ordinary. For just as an effort is made to retrieve fallen American troops from the battlefield, so an effort was made to retrieve one soldier's lost glory for posterity.

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