As part of Veterans Day, the following was published as an opinion piece in the Nov. 6, 2007, Tomahawk Leader.
By Chris Bell
Thank you, sirs, for services rendered so valiantly during the Korean War, meritorious services for which you were awarded The Congressional Medal of Honor. Your price was very reasonable: a few dollars a month plus rations in exchange for saving the world, a contract signed in blood and sacrifice, served out on land, in the air and on the sea … all so we could enjoy freedom and democracy for generations to come. An extra two dollars a month from the paymaster for being a medal of honor winner was a bargain indeed, your modestly understated bonus for actions above and beyond the call of duty.
Your receipt stated that you were only doing your job; however, we of the succeeding generations of Americans nonetheless continue to feel an incalculable national debt for your services, as we are only now coming to grasp and appreciate the breadth and scope of your valor as the events of the Korean War fade further and further into distant history. We are fortunate to have so many of your national treasures with us still, men rained during the hard times of The Great Depression and World War II.
Thank you for selflessly thwarting those enemies who sought to take the lives of our best, and thank you for bravely saving the lives of our American soldiers, and securing the futures of their children, and their children’s children .. all the families that would not exist if not for you. How do you calculate the bill for saving a best friend, a loving husband, a doting father, a favorite nephew or uncle, a dutiful son, a future grandfather? Thenceforth, your deeds have accrued interest, compounded each day a descendant is born.
Our President awarded you the highest honor this country can bestow upon a soldier of the United States Armed Services: The Congressional Medal of Honor. Thank you for services rendered for a medal you did not seek; a medal you would gladly trade for the lives of those comrades who were lost.
For the American people, the ledger continues to remain open, operating in the red for over a half a century, now in its national debt to you. Oh, you received your combat pay and your tickertape parades, possibly an audience with the President, and other flattering forms of recognition. But we cannot say “thank you” enough for exclaim, “We’ll never forget” enough to erase our outstanding debt. The bill of sale will never be settled; the invoice for services rendered shall remain unpaid. If you will allow us to borrow against eternity, then, maybe we can someday pay you back – if the price of freedom, sacrifices and lives saved can even be measured. For now, our debt to you will leave us forever in arrears, with is okay, because the rest – your final reward – will surely be left to heaven.
(Editor’s note: The above was submitted by Mardelle Ingman, Irma, whose husband, Einar, is the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for his services during the Korean War.)