News / USA

Americans Honored for Acts of Bravery

Americans Honored for Acts of Braveryi
X
Chris Simkins
March 31, 2014 7:41 PM
A group of Americans that has received the U.S. military's highest honor for bravery is gathering this week for the premiere of a documentary that chronicles the history of the Medal of Honor. But the group does more than just pay tribute to military valor. For several years now, they have also been honoring ordinary civilians with a Citizen Medal of Honor -- for acts of bravery and service in communities around the country. VOA's Chris Simkins has more on the story.

Americans Honored for Acts of Bravery

Chris Simkins
— A group of Americans which has received the U.S. military's highest honor for bravery is gathering this week in Knoxville, Tennessee, for the premiere of a documentary that chronicles the history of the Medal of Honor. But the group does more than just  pay tribute to military valor. For several years now, they have also been honoring ordinary civilians with a Citizen Medal of Honor - for acts of bravery and service in communities around the country.

It's a snowy day at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, near Washington, D.C. Living Medal of Honor winners gather to recognize service members killed in the line of duty.

"Thank you for inspiring us then and now with your strength, your will and your heroic hearts," said President Barack Obama at a recent ceremony.

Acknowledging valor

And later at the White House, their numbers increase, as a group of veterans from past wars receive the Medal for their own valor.

They also took some time to recognize non-military valor, however, honoring a group of ordinary citizens for their heroic actions in the face of danger.

"We all started to feel this pull and swimming back to the beach became difficult, if not impossible for some of the others. I realized that because of my junior lifeguard training how to recognize that we were in a rip tide," said nineteen year old Connor Stotts, who risked his own life to rescue three friends from drowning during a beach outing in California in 2011.

"The thought never crossed my mind that I would just swim back to shore without them," said Stotts.

When asked if he would consider himself a hero, he replied, "I know this is something everyone would say, but I don't consider myself a hero. I would consider myself I hope more of an example."

Humble heroes

Eight years ago the living Medal of Honor recipients established an award for ordinary people who demonstrated courage, sacrifice and service.

"He was a very caring person who loved to teach and he loved his kids and he loved his family," said Sharon Landsberry, remembering the love of her life, Michael. The mathematics teacher is credited with saving students' lives at a Nevada middle school before he was shot and killed by a 12-year old boy last year. Michael Landsberry was the first citizen to be awarded the honor posthumously.

"I know my husband would do it over again if it were to happen again that was just who he was. He would put his life up to protect those who he loved," she said.

Ronald Rand, who heads the Medal of Honor Foundation, said the award promotes selfless service.

"Everyone could be one of those heroes, and if in fact everyone knew that and recognized that and looked for ways to perform those acts, our society would be a truly wonderful team of people focused on the right values and the right outcomes," said Rand.

The Citizen Medal of Honor recipients say they hope their acts of valor and service will inspire other ordinary people to help those in need and make a difference in their communities.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in public More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid