My heroes have no capes


“It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.” – Ret. General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr.

The anniversary of the Purple Heart was this past week and I know so much has been talked about the award but not so much on the people who receive this honor. The history of the Purple Heart goes back to our country’s earliest days after Gen. George Washington was forbidden by the Continental Congress to grant commissions or promotions to recognize military merit. It is awarded to members of the U.S. Armed Forces who are wounded in war, in the hands of the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action. It is specific combat decoration established in 1782 and re-established in 1932.

People have to sacrifice in order to keep the world free and sometimes that sacrifice is fighting far away for other people’s freedom so that we can keep and cherish our own freedom. Fighting for that freedom is Sergeant First Class Christopher Tobias who is currently serving in the U.S. Army. He has over 14 years of service; including a tour of Iraq and three tours in Afghanistan.

“My thoughts on it really are it only matters as much as it matters to the person giving it. If a person’s whole squad got taken out and he was the lone survivor who received injuries and received a purple heart, giving that to someone would mean a great deal more than, say someone who was in an IED with no follow on attack, no one was seriously injured, but had some scratches on his leg from what was maybe shrapnel, maybe not. So the significance of giving it to someone just really depends on the significance of the event.”

Patrick Camarillo served with the U.S. Army from June 1994 to August 2008; 352 Eng. Co (DT), and 370th Trans Co (PLS) - Camp Cedar II Iraq and Camp Spearhead Kuwait. “So basically, the Purple Heart to me is a medal/ribbon awarded to service personnel wounded or killed while performing combat actions during a time of war. This can range from being shot, to being injured from an IED, or any of the other criteria listed in the requirements for this award. It is not an award that one seeks out, but one that is used to recognize the sacrifice of a particular individual.”

I think that all our military personal current or veterans have sacrificed so much that we as civilians take for granted, in order to serve. It’s not just about defending America; it’s about defending those that can’t defend themselves. And if the person wants to give his medal to someone else, such as a mentor, or an even a sick child, it’s theirs to do so. Christopher Tobias believes, “You never really give it away though. It’s more of a symbol, a notion. You still have it in your records, you are still awarded it and I could give it to you and turn around walk into military clothing & sales store and buy another.”

I was not there - I can't make a valid judgment and unless you've been in a combat zone, it's really difficult to make a judgment on what someone does and does not deserve. “You have never lived until you have almost died, and for those who choose to fight, Life has a special flavor the protected will never know.”- Capt. R. Subramaniun Kirti Chakra.