The Highest Honor

This week brings one of our nation’s most necessary and often somber federal holidays. This week we honor our nation’s veterans. But this Veteran’s Day unlike many others will be followed by a very special ceremony.

On September 10, 2010, the White House announced that SSG Salvatore Giunta would receive the United States’ highest military decoration, The Medal of Honor- and the first awarded to a living recipient since the Vietnam War. (The White House Citation is attached below.) He will receive the medal from President Barack Obama during a ceremony at the White House on November 16. Giunta will be the fourth recipient from the War in Afghanistan, after Navy Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, Army Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti, and Army Staff Sergeant Robert James Miller.

I hope that everyone in our nation will take the time to witness this historic event and that you will join me in honoring our nation’s military service persons for all they have sacrificed to ensure the brightest of futures for our great country.

However, not everyone seems to be excited for this medal to be bestowed upon one of our nation’s heroes who can actually receive the honor himself. The internet and news media are inundated with coverage of people who are furious that SSG Giunta will be a living recipient. I think those folks need a healthy dose of perspective.

247 Americans received the Medal of Honor for duty above and beyond the call in the Vietnam War. So far in the 10 years of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts only eight have received it. That is a gap that can speak for itself. Instead of bemoaning the fact that one of our Soldiers IS going to receive the honor, shouldn’t we as a nation ask why more of our brave war fighters aren’t being considered for their acts of heroism and bravery? Our nation needs to be reminded that our military is doing amazing things- and we will never accomplish that by failing to recognize them.

Let me make this relative to each of you. No one can inspire people to accomplish great things without first demonstrating how valuable those acts are. We demonstrate value through recognition. Organizations everywhere are losing the battle against retention simply because leaders are failing to give credit where it’s due. People will work tirelessly for people that appreciate them. Employees aren’t committed to companies- they are committed to leaders.

Monday Morning Perspective:

“Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I may not forget you.”William Arthur

“Encouraged people achieve the best; dominated people achieve second best; neglected people achieve the least.” –Anonymous

This week I challenge you to do two things very intentionally:

1.    Take a moment to honor our nation’s troops and their families, and

2.    Tell at least one person who works with you, and another who works for you just how much you appreciate their hard work.

Have a wonderful week!

Warmest Regards, 

Crystal Dyer

© Crystal Dyer 2010. All rights reserved.
ISSN: 2158-1355

White House Official Citation
Medal of Honor Recipient SSG Giunta

Then-Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta distinguished himself by acts of gallantry at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rifle team leader with Company B, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment during combat operations against an armed enemy in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan on October 25, 2007. When an insurgent force ambush split Specialist Giunta’s squad into two groups, he exposed himself to enemy fire to pull a comrade back to cover. Later, while engaging the enemy and attempting to link up with the rest of his squad, Specialist Giunta noticed two insurgents carrying away a fellow soldier. He immediately engaged the enemy, killing one and wounding the other, and provided medical aid to his wounded comrade while the rest of his squad caught up and provided security. His courage and leadership while under extreme enemy fire were integral to his platoon’s ability to defeat an enemy ambush and recover a fellow American paratrooper from enemy hands.


One thought on “The Highest Honor

  1. I’m a stay-at-home mom, so I won’t be able to tell anyone at work much I appreciate them – although I think that is an excellent idea. I can, however, try harder to provide my child with more positive reinforcement instead of only recognizing the negative. I know that by doing that it will make him a better person, and in turn, hopefully in the future, a better leader. Thanks for the reminder!

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