I want to use this blog to highlight a local Medal of Honor Recipient.

The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the U.S. It goes to a member of our Armed Forces who distinguishes himself/herself "conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States".

It was first established in 1862 and first awarded in the American Civil War; since that time, more than 3400 have been honored ... 618 of those posthumous.

We just lost one of the few remaining World War Two Medal of Honor Winners:
Russell Dunham of Godfrey, Illinois.

To many, Mr. Dunham might have appeared to be just an 89 year old man living out his final days of an ordinary life, but read what he did as a young man.

Details from the Official Medal of Honor Citation state: on January 8, 1945 ... T/Sgt Dunham signle-handedly assaulted 3 enemy machine guns on Hill 616 near Kayersberg, France.

He carried 12 carbine magazines and a dozen hand grenades while he crawled 75 yards while under heavy fire. 10 yards from the first machine gun, he charged forward; he was hit in the back but continued charging forward. He had to kick away a German grenade, and it exploded 5 yards from him.

He shot and killed the machine gunner and assistant then hauled the 3rd German out of the emplacement.

T/Sgt Dunham advanced another 50 yards while again under machine gun fire; he attacked the second emplacement ... killing the enemy.

A third machine gun opened on him, but while facing bullets and rifle grenades, he crawled another 65 yards ... getting close enough to kill the enemy with his grenades.

When it was over, the bleeding T/Sgt Dunham had killed 9 Germans, wounded 7 and captured 2.

This Friday (April 10) .. Russell Dunham will be laid to rest at Valhalla Memorial Park in Godfrey.

Too many times we carelessly use the word "hero" ... but at 20 years old, T/Sgt Dunham showed us the true meaning of that word.

Russell Dunham and others like him ... deserve the ever lasting respect, honor and admiration of our nation. Lest we forget ...

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