The English language has taken a beating over the last several years. Once-powerful words have morphed into lukewarm symbols of nothingness. One word that has been completely neutered is “hero.” Its meaning has become so diluted that a person could arguably qualify for “hero” status simply by holding a door for a stranger. This simple dilution, however, recently turned into something downright vomit-inducing when the Obama administration tried to portray Army Sgt., Bowe Bergdahl as a returning war hero. Given what we have since learned from his comrades regarding the events of his capture, it seems that “Bergdahl the hero” should more appropriately be described as “Bergdahl the deserter” or “Bergdahl the traitor.”
There are heroes in the Bergdahl story, however. They are the men who made the ultimate sacrifice while trying to find his sorry America-hating ass. While Bowe Bergdahl’s name has been splashed all over the news, there are at LEAST 8 names that we know should be held in the highest esteem.
Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen, 29, of San Antonio, Texas
Private 1st Class Morris Walker, 23, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss, 27, of Murray, Utah
2nd Lieutenant Darryn Andrews, 34, of Dallas, Texas
Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey, 25, of Snyder, Texas
Private 1st Class Matthew Martinek, 20, of DeKalb, Illinois
Private 1st ClassAaron Fairbairn, 20, Aberdeen, Washington
Private 1st ClassJustin Casillas, 19, Dunnigan, California
And then there is Army MSG Mark Allen, who suffered severe brain injury during the search for Bowe Bergdahl.
His wife recently posted this statement to the Facebook site, “Bowe Bergdahl is a traitor”:
“Meet my husband, injuries directly brought to you by the actions of this traitor. He can’t give an account of what went down, because he can no longer speak. Now, which guy is a ‘hero’ again?!? Sick.”
In the midst of this latest scandal, there has also emerged a hero who could be referred to as the “anti-Bergdahl.” His name is Sgt. Amir Hekmati, a Marine from Flagstaff, Arizona who has so far endured over 1000 days of a 10 year sentence in an Iranian prison. Hekmati has been falsely charged with “conspiracy to commit espionage” and the Iranians hope to use him in a prisoner exchange…but Hekmati will have none of that. In a letter smuggled to Secretary of State, John Kerry, Hekmati states:
“I had nothing to do with their arrest, committed no crime, and see no reason why the U.S. Government should entertain such a ridiculous proposition. I do not wish to set a precedent for others that may be unlawfully (obtained) for political gain in the future.”
Clearly, the opposite of a “Bergdahl” is a “Hekmati”–it is his name that should be seen all over the news cycle and his cause that should be taken up by our government.
Finally, Friday, June 6 marks the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France. It is quite fitting that the Bergdahl fiasco is occurring during this observance, if for no other reason than to draw the distinction between true heroes and a propped up “hero” who is nothing more than a straw man. While Bowe Bergdahl ran away from the fight like a scalded dog, the Allied forces ran to face down the enemy and fight like the men they were. Almost 30,000 American heroes paid the ultimate price that day.
Just as the Medal of Honor is only awarded to those who go above and beyond the call of duty, the word “hero” should only be used to describe those who put the lives and well-being of others above their own. Conversely, the next time we need to find a word that defines someone who exhibits extreme cowardice, I submit that we insert the name “Bergdahl.”