Susan McConnell, an author, counselor and speaker, wrote this about remembering those who died for our freedom on Memorial Day.
On May 10, 1970, Army specialist Leslie H. Sabo Jr. and about 50 Army soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division were ambushed by more than 100 Vietnamese fighters in what became known as the Se San battle in Cambodia.
Sabo rushed to the front of the battle, taking out several fighters and forcing the retreat of an enemy flanking force. He then ran across a clearing to get more ammunition when an enemy grenade landed near a wounded comrade. Sabo picked up the grenade, threw it and shielded the wounded soldier with his body. Seriously injured by the blast, he continued to fight the adversaries by crawling to an enemy bunker even as bullets pierced his body. He grabbed a grenade, pilled the pin and threw it to silence the bunker. The resulting explosion ended Sabo's life, saving the lives of dozens of his fellow soldiers.
More than 40 years later, his wife, Rose, received the Medal of Honor for her deceased husband from President Obama in a White House ceremony attended by more than two dozen survivors from Bravo Company and Alton Mabb, the veteran from the 101st Airborne "Screaming Eagles" who found Sabo's lost paperwork at the National Archives while researching an article.
Since Congress authorized the Medal of Honor, 3,459 medals have been awarded. The first recipients, 1,522 of them, were from the American Civil War.
The Medal of Honor was authorized to represent valiant efforts of our military during war or military conflict.
Sabo and hundreds of thousands of our military have given their life for liberty. On Memorial Day, take time to reflect on the sacrifices made by our military for the freedoms our citizens enjoy.