“Valor is a gift. Those having it never know for sure whether they have it till the test comes.” Those words by the poet Carl Sandburg ring true for anyone who’s ever been to war. Nobody enlists in the military or steps foot on the battlefield expecting to become a hero. Those people are made in the moment. People say it’s training, instinct and most important, the desire to save comrades — all this is what pushes people to go above and beyond the call of duty. On this Memorial Day, we’ll revisit the words of President Abraham Lincoln who said that any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure. We’ll talk about the Medal of Honor with two men who received the nation’s highest honor, and with a war correspondent who has been covering the fighting in Iraq.
Colonel H.C. “Barney” Barnum, Jr., Marines, retired, is a Congressional Medal of Honor Winner and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy
Colonel George E. “Bud” Day, Air Force, retired, is a Congressional Medal of Honor Winner
Michael Phillips is the author of “The Gift of Valor” and a staff reporter for “The Wall Street Journal.”