Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Dead Man in the Background

 

I was reading Medal of Honor citations and something really stuck with me. The recipient’s heroism is often shadowed by dead men. For example, one soldier’s unit came under fire, and the lieutenant led a counter-charge before swiftly getting cut down. The recipient took over the charge, storming the position and killing several of the enemy. We know little of this dead officer, the dead man fading into the background. Could he have fought side by side with the honored recipient all the way through the end? Would he have risen to the occasion later, saving other soldiers with his service? Could he have been a successful man civilian life — a father, a gentleman, a businessman, a scholar, or even a hero in his civilian life? We don’t know, and can’t know, and he falls into a sea of stories that few remember.

This is not out of neglect or malice. There are literally so many stories of soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen lost in battle that no one can remember them all. That’s why we have Memorial Day — a day for the dead men in the background of our country, the people who died so we remain free, since each of their lives matters. This is not a movie with stars and extras, this is a story of people much like us who gave up their lives.

So spare a thought and a prayer for the men in the background. For the futures sacrificed for our nation, for the families left shattered, for people who should never be allowed to fade from memory.

Published in Military
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  1. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I just posted this on another thread a little while ago, but seems appropriate here. It’s a video from the ABMC museum at Point Du Hoc. I watched it at least three times when we were there in 2015.

    The quoted part starts around the 11 minute mark: https://www.abmc.gov/multimedia/videos/stories-pointe-du-hoc

    We kept him under as much as we could with morphine. And eventually when we were relieved, of course, he was evacuated. But he died aboard the ship. But I think of him every once in a while as, I remember him because we were friends. These are men who live in your memory. But all this… the personalities become frozen, they never develop. The people never develop. They’re stopped in time and place. These were living human beings, some of ‘em a little nutty, some of ‘em irritating, all of them were real, and the sacrifices all of these characteristics, all of this personality, all of their futures, gone…all of their futures gone.

     

     

     

    • #1
    • May 25, 2020, at 3:42 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  2. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    This man lives nearby. I’ve had honor of meeting him once (in an auto parts store parking lot – he was on his tricycle motorcycle, wearing a jacket with the MOH insignia on the back) and shaking his hand.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Wetzel

     

    • #2
    • May 25, 2020, at 3:47 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. Mark Camp Member

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    This man lives nearby. I’ve had honor of meeting him once (in an auto parts store parking lot – he was on his tricycle motorcycle, wearing a jacket with the MOH insignia on the back) and shaking his hand.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Wetzel

     

    I didn’t get the connection between this and the OP. Could you explain? Were you arguing against the point OmegaPaladin made about MOH recipients?

    • #3
    • May 25, 2020, at 5:12 PM PDT
    • Like
  4. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    This man lives nearby. I’ve had honor of meeting him once (in an auto parts store parking lot – he was on his tricycle motorcycle, wearing a jacket with the MOH insignia on the back) and shaking his hand.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Wetzel

     

    I didn’t get the connection between this and the OP. Could you explain? Were you arguing against the point OmegaPaladin made about MOH recipients?

    Just wanted to clarify that I would never disparage MOH recipients – I just wanted to note that there are lots of people who died in the background whose sacrifice should also be remembered. There’s a reason we keep a vigil for the Unknown Soldier.

    • #4
    • May 26, 2020, at 8:00 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. Mark Camp Member

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    This man lives nearby. I’ve had honor of meeting him once (in an auto parts store parking lot – he was on his tricycle motorcycle, wearing a jacket with the MOH insignia on the back) and shaking his hand.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Wetzel

     

    I didn’t get the connection between this and the OP. Could you explain? Were you arguing against the point OmegaPaladin made about MOH recipients?

    Just wanted to clarify that I would never disparage MOH recipients – I just wanted to note that there are lots of people who died in the background whose sacrifice should also be remembered. There’s a reason we keep a vigil for the Unknown Soldier.

    I certainly didn’t think that you were disparaging, or ever would disparage, MOH recipients. 

    • #5
    • May 26, 2020, at 11:20 AM PDT
    • 1 like