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Monday, May 2, 2016

On Heroism

Friday, November 2, 2012

Our nation has a rich history of military service. From the Minutemen in the Revolutionary War to the establishing of Special Forces such as the Green Berets, there have always been those who willingly offer themselves to keep us safe. As we near Veterans Day, we are particularly reminded of the sacrifices these people have made at home or abroad.

A very recent example of military sacrifice was displayed a month ago in Benghazi, Libya. On the day of September 11, four Americans were killed during a terrorist attack on the U.S consulate. These Americans included two Navy Seals, an Air Force veteran, and the Ambassador, Chris Stevens; each of whom had families and a life back home. While it was these four who were killed, I believe the Seals: Tyrone Woods and Greg Doherty; deserve special recognition considering what they did in this preplanned attack.

It is interesting to note how this whole thing unfolded for the information on the attack took almost a month to be fully available to the public, capping off with an interview with the father of Tyrone Woods last Friday on Fox. Asking why this information took so long to become available is the popular question that brings up multiple answers. In any event, a cover-up of this mess has indeed been made and it is tragic that four men lost their lives in an attack that could have easily been thwarted. And it is only more catastrophic to learn that two of the four died knowing what they had gotten themselves into, instead of simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Tyrone Woods, his father said in this interview, had gone to Benghazi on his own accord and own moral responsibility, and fought the terrorists for seven hours before he was killed by a mortar round. Greg Doherty was killed in the same blast.

In the same interview, Charles Woods said he later received an email from someone who said "your son's sacrifice saved my life." As it turns out, this wasn't the only life Tyrone Woods saved. Over the seven hour period, this man, along with his comrade, saved over thirty people.

In every sense of the word, what these two men did is nothing short of heroism.

Our permanent military was established around 1790 and has been around ever since. It has been strong and many people have served, fought, and died for this country. For a long time, America has been known for standing for what is right, acting on what is unjust, and keeping those who serve as safe as possible. How could this attack on the U.S embassy have happened? To say that this attack could have been easily prevented is an understatement. But why has this news taken so long to come out?

I have been taught that journalists and the media are the watchdogs of society, yet this has taken almost a month for this information to come out; while also taking into consideration the two weeks it took just to proclaim this event a terrorist attack. I will tell you that by doing so dishonors those who serve our country.

Charles Wood's later went on to say: "hopefully my son's sacrifice and his moral courage and his moral strength will encourage our next generation." Those words were spoken with optimism and courage- courage that we may learn from the past, and optimism that we will do better in the future.

Hopefully this generation and the next will have more people like those who displayed their moral strength and courage last month in Benghazi, Libya. In all decency may they, and the thousands who came before them, continue to set an example for us and this nation.

* Jacob Olson is a recent graduate of Storm Lake High School attending Iowa Central Community College. He writes a weekly column for the Pilot-Tribune.