The Patriot Post® · Uncommon Valor

By Roger Helle ·

What is valor, really?

My publisher for The Patriot Post, Mark Alexander, and I have the honor of serving on the board of the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center here in Chattanooga.

Chattanooga is more or less the birthplace of the Medal of Honor, as 33 medals were awarded here in 1863 during the Civil War.

Being involved with the Heritage Center, I have had the distinct privilege of meeting some of America’s true heroes. I’ve met Charles Coolidge and Hershel “Woody” Williams. Mr. Coolidge received his medal for valor in France and Woody on the beaches of Iwo Jima. They were the last two living WWII recipients until they passed. That generation of heroes has passed on.

After Iwo Jima, Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz said about the Marines, “Among those who served on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue.” That valor was evident even during my time in the Marine Corps.

Last Tuesday, I attended a breakfast with Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. First Class Leroy Petry. I’ve been blessed to meet Marine Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, Army Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta, Sgt. First Class Sammy Davis, and others. I’ve shook their hands, and I was honored to stand alongside such warriors! These recipients are heroes who always deflect the attention from themselves to honor those they served with.

Jesus might have been thinking of them when He said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:23). They are among the few, the very few, who survived battle to wear the medal. Most families receive the medal posthumously.

My community welcomed home one of our own hometown heroes on September 11, 2023. Capt. Larry Taylor, a Vietnam helicopter pilot whose bio is astounding, added the Medal of Honor for valor in Vietnam 55 years ago. Better late than never!

All those I mentioned and many, many more are part of the reason America still enjoys the freedoms we have today. When the hard decision had to be made, even though it might cost them their lives, they never hesitated and put themselves in harm’s way for others.

My own brother put himself in harm’s way when he threw himself on a grenade to save the fellow Marines around him. By God’s grace, the grenade failed to explode. He is one of my personal heroes!

Valor and courage cannot be taught; they are internal strengths developed throughout our lives. When the test comes, they will dictate what actions we take. Cowardice will cause most to flee danger. How many times have we seen violent acts where no one will step up to intervene?

A woman is raped in a subway station and no one tries to help; instead, people pull out their cellphones and record it. A shooter opens up in a church, a store, or a school and most try to hide rather than risk their life to try to save others. To be honest, I hope I would have the courage to protect someone in danger rather than have to live with my cowardice the rest of my life.

As our freedoms are being gradually taken from us, will there be enough of us who have the courage to stand up and say, “Not on my watch”?

Something to pray about!
Semper Fidelis