Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Medal of Honor.

Tim Hetherington’s pleasant, calming British accent prompts Sal Giunta off camera, the only time his voice is heard in the interview. “What went through your head when you heard you were going to be up for the medal of honor?”

Giunta doesn’t flinch. His eyes narrow almost undetectably. Without hesitating he replies,
“Fuck you.”

And in an instant, I feel Giunta’s visceral pain.

Fuck you for singling me out.
Fuck you for saying I’m brave.
Fuck you for making this political. Fuck you, I lost my friends.

Obama called it a joyous occasion. I have to disagree. It is the nation’s highest military honor. It is a very, very big deal. It is, purely, the essence of greatness. It stands for characteristics that we pray we exhibit if we are ever given the opportunity to do so. But I do not feel joy watching this, I do not feel joy watching Giunta stand quietly, enduring the camera clicks, knowing that inside of his head he is thinking only of his friends, and probably wishing he wasn’t up there in front of all of us. I feel something else. I feel somber, but I think more importantly great sadness, and a twinge of anger. A little piece of me cringes when I realize that we are capitalizing on this young man’s experience, using it as a moment to feel good about ourselves for recognizing his valor, commending him for his bravery. We make him recant that horrible, tragic day over and over again so we can clap him on the back and shake his hand.

I think it sums it up that it wasn’t important enough to bump Prince William’s engagement out of the top story spot on CNN.

Fuck you.