Academic journal article Military Review

BEYOND GLORY: Medal of Honor Heroes in Their Own Words

Academic journal article Military Review

BEYOND GLORY: Medal of Honor Heroes in Their Own Words

Article excerpt

BEYOND GLORY: Medal of Honor Heroes in Their Own Words, Larry Smith, W.W. Norton, New York, 2003, 320 pages, $26.95.

The Medal of Honor was established in 1862 and only 3,410 individuals have received it, many of those posthumously. Today, there are approximately 140 living recipients from World Wars I and II and the Vietnam war.

Veteran editor and journalist Larry Smith, formerly with the New York Times and Parade, interviewed several Medal of Honor recipients and put together 24 firsthand accounts from Pearl Harbor to the bloody battlefields of Vietnam. Smith has interviewed a cross section of those who received America's highest honor: officers and enlisted men; African-Americans; Japanese-Americans; Hispanics and Caucasians; the famous and not so famous. His list includes former U.S. Senators Daniel Inouye and Bob Kerrey and lesser known recipients like Rodolfo Hernandez of Colton, California, who on 31 May 1951, singlehandedly broke up an enemy attack near Wontong-ni, Korea, being grievously wounded in the process.

Sacrifice and duty are common themes of these stories. The recipients made the ultimate commitment to country and buddies. They modestly claim they are not special; however, their deeds were clearly special-above and beyond the call of duty-in dangerous, life-threatening situations. They all insist they were not Medal of Honor "winners" but merely "recipients" of the medal representing those with whom they served. …

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