But on this day, Sept. 29, Monsoor was stationed atop a building in Ramadi, Iraq, one of the hot spots for fighting terrorists. He was assigned to protect three Navy SEAL snipers. But one of the terrorists got a bead on the outfit and threw a grenade onto the roof. It bounced off Monsoor's chest and fell to the ground. Despite the fact that Monsoor had a clear avenue of escape, he yelled, "Grenade!", then quickly jumped on the grenade, sacrificing his life. By shielding two of his brothers in arms from the grenade with his chest, he saved their lives.
Monsoor's actions eventually won him a posthumous Medal of Honor. President Bush broke into tears at the ceremony, even as he praised the fallen hero, stating: "One of the survivors puts it this way: 'Mikey looked death in the face that day and said, 'You cannot take my brothers. I will go in their stead.'"
That would be enough of a story. But the real story is what happened at Monsoor's funeral, footage of which can be viewed at YouTube. Almost every Navy SEAL on the West Coast showed up. And as they filed past Monsoor's coffin, each SEAL removed a gold trident, symbolizing membership in the SEAL brotherhood. And then each SEAL slapped his trident into the cherry wood of the coffin, as the echoes reverberated around the silent cemetery. As President Bush described, "The procession went on nearly half an hour. And when it was all over, the simple wooden coffin had become a gold-plated memorial to a hero who will never be forgotten."
These are our men and women of the United States military. And these are the stories that we must tell about them. They are not victims of some cruel system, ground down into mental dust. They are volunteers for freedom. They stand between us and those who would plunge our nation into darkness.
Where is George Clooney when we need him? Where is Ewan McGregor? Where is Tobey Maguire? Apparently, they are too busy pillorying soldiers as would-be Maj. Nidal Hasans to remember who our soldiers really are: Michael Monsoors. Heroes. True brothers. And true protectors.
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