Sunday, January 08, 2006

Ave Atque Vale to America's Finest

As a left-of-centre sort of bloke, naturally I don’t see eye-to-eye with those who supported the American invasion of Iraq or its support for Israel in the latter’s oppression of Palestinians or in Bush neo-con-ish policies. Some friends incorrectly feel I have been too anti-American per se.

My friends aren’t even aware that I am an admirer of General Colin Powell (and many others, some of whom are my personal friends) or had blogged a Christmas Eve posting in 2004 to salute 3 great American soldiers of the Vietnam War, whom the US military took 30 years to recognise their courage, conviction and human decency, those fine American values.

Why did it take so long for the US military to accord public recognition to 3 of its finest soldiers? Maybe because it didn’t want to relive one of its darkest chapters in its history, or maybe it frowned on those men for whatever reason – who knows?

That 3 decades’ long delay in acknowledging the courageous act of its 3 Finest was in itself a shameful act, but in 1998, only after David Egan, a professor emeritus at Clemson University, launched a letter-writing campaign that eventually led to the recognition of their courage, conviction and human decency, those 3 American Heroes at My Lai were finally awarded the prestigious Soldier's Medal, the highest award for bravery not involving conflict with an enemy. Sadly for one of them, Glenn Andreotta, it was a posthumous award because he was killed in battle 3 weeks after My Lai.

Today I read with great sorrow that the helicopter pilot, Hugh Thompson, had passed away at the Veterans Affairs Medical Centre in Alexandria, USA, after suffering from cancer. He was 62 years old.

Ave Atque Vale Hugh Thompson!

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