Medal of HonorI was lucky to attend a benefit dinner last night for injured combat veterans. About 100 local business people paid $275 each to reserve a room at Morton’s steak house in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia. They invited a small group of soldiers undergoing treatment at Walter Reed to join them for a meal and the NCAA basketball game, projected on huge screens at both ends of the room. It was one of many small, unpublicized gestures people routinely make to support and appreciate each other.

The evening was short on ceremony but did include one brief speech that made a lasting impression. Captain Roger Donlon, who earned the first Medal of Honor in Viet Nam, reminded the soldiers present that, though some of them have earned Silver Stars and other medals for valor and all were permanently injured in battle, their most courageous acts may be ahead of them as they faced the normal temptations and challenges of life. He closed by saying,

“I and the other warriors here know that the most powerful force in the world is not hatred for the enemy but love for the man next to you.

That love was much in evidence last night, amongst the wounded warriors and between the businessmen. I was lucky to be there.