Captain Groberg’s Gift
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
The award today of the Medal of Honor to Captain Florent Groberg of the United States Army is an inspiring capstone to Veterans Day. President Obama did a beautiful job at the ceremony, as he so often does at these events. Captain Groberg had tackled a suicide bomber in Afghanistan just as the bomber was about to attack a group of American officers, soldiers, and civilians. The captain perceived what was happening, raced to place himself between the bomber and the captain’s own comrades, and threw the attacker to the ground before the bomb he was carrying detonated.
It happens that we have tried to watch every presentation of the Medal of Honor that Mr. Obama has made. The Medal of Honor is a medal that one is never supposed to say was “won.” It is beyond that. It is an honor and a decoration — an exceptionally beautiful one, too, with his white stars on a pale blue ribbon — that is bestowed on an individual who has shown, in every case, intrepidity beyond ordinary comprehension. We find them affecting in part because the stories, and the ceremonies at which they are told, remind that there are men and moments that stand above politics.
We don’t mean to belittle the political fray, the debates over the military budget, the controversies over strategy and diplomacy. They are enormously important. We do mean to suggest that it is good to have them put into perspective and to be reminded that with all our policy struggles there are moments when our nation can come together to agree on heroes, to acknowledge them, and to feel as one in honoring them. That gift, in addition to all the lives Captain Groberg saved, has to be one of the things to which the President was referring when he expressed the thanks of a grateful nation.