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STAYING THE COURSE


The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States." Due to the nature of its criteria, it is often awarded posthumously but not always.


Can I tell you a story?


John D. Hawk was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army in WWII.


He manned a light machinegun on August 20, 1944, near Chambois, France, a key point in the encirclement which created the Falaise Pocket. During an enemy counterattack, Hawk’s position was threatened by a strong force of tanks and infantry. His fire forced the infantry to withdraw, but an artillery shell knocked out his gun and seriously wounded his right thigh. Securing a bazooka, he and another man stalked the tanks and forced them to retire to some nearby woods. In the lull which followed, Sgt. Hawk reorganized 2 machinegun squads and, in the face of intense enemy fire, he made 1 workable artillery weapon from 2 damaged ones.


Another enemy assault developed and it appeared they would have the upper hand. Two of our tank destroyers were brought up but their shots were ineffective because of the terrain; they could not see what they were shooting at. Despite his wound, Sgt. Hawk boldly climbed to an exposed position on a knoll where, unmoved by the shelling from the enemy, he became a human aiming stake for the destroyers. He tried to shout fire directions but could not be heard above the noise of battle so he hobbled back to the destroyers through a concentration of bullets and shrapnel to correct the range. He then returned to his exposed position, repeating this performance until the tanks were knocked out and forced back into the woods yet again. Still at great risk, he continued to direct the destroyers' fire into the Germans' wooded hideout until the enemy finally came out and surrendered. Sgt. Hawk's fearless initiative and heroic conduct, even while suffering from a serious wound, was in large measure responsible for crushing 2 desperate attempts of the enemy to escape from the Falaise Pocket and for taking more than 500 prisoners. (http://www.homeofheroes.com/moh/citations_living/ii_a_hawk.html)


That my friends, is what is meant by "keeping the words in this book." It means to stay the course, be obedient, even unto death. It means "I will not be moved!"

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