I’d like to ask you a personal favor.
I’m going to recite a list of names. There are quite a few, so be patient and bear with me. I’m going to ask you what’s the most important thing they have in common.
Ready? Let’s begin: Mendoza, Erevia, Rodela, Garcia, Alvarado, Conde-Falcon, Copas, Duran, Baldonado, Espinoza, Gomez, Negron, Pena, Rivera, Vera, Cano, Gandar and Lara.
So what do you think? Sound like a Latin American baseball team? A Mariachi orchestra? Well, those are the names of most of the Medal of Honor recipients awarded Tuesday at the White House. It is the highest honor a military service person can receive. Given, as you know, for heroism above and beyond the call of duty.
Staff Sgt. Mendoza was an Arizonan, though wounded, fought off 200 German soldiers in WWII. The others were also heroes from WWII, as well as Korea and Vietnam.
That long ago? Why did it take until now to recognize their valor? Did you notice any other common bond?
Oh, there were also Medals of Honor bestowed on a Kravitz and a Weinstein and a Schwab.
Jews and Latinos at the end of the line, even for the Congressional Medal of Honor.
I hope they know from way back there, we’re tearfully saluting them.
I’m Pat McMahon.