The Times covers yesterday's Medal of Honor ceremony and has me reaching for the blood pressure medication. Their intro is fine:
WASHINGTON — President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor on Monday to an infantryman who by himself held a small outpost in eastern Afghanistan in the battle of Wanat, one of the deadliest conflicts of the nearly 13-year war.
The soldier, Ryan M. Pitts, a former Army staff sergeant, received the medal for conspicuous gallantry after more than 200 insurgents tried to overrun his base in July 2008, a debacle the Army later declared a major strategic failure. But Mr. Pitts, critically wounded and unable to stand, managed to hold his smaller post of boulders and sandbags, defended by only nine Americans, just outside the larger base.
In the end, eight of those nine died under relentless fire, leaving only Mr. Pitts. Another soldier died rushing to his aid, and 27 more were wounded.
“Valor was everywhere that day, and the real heroes are the nine men who made the ultimate sacrifice so the rest of us could return home,” Mr. Pitts told reporters in the White House driveway, outside the West Wing, after the ceremony. “It is their names, not mine, that I want everyone to know.” Mr. Pitts then solemnly read the names one by one before quickly walking away.
And the names are... sorry, that is not part of All The News That Is Fit To Print in the self-styled paper of record. Really? Plenty of other news services whiffed as well [e.g., ABC, CBS], but not every media outlet faced a critical shortage of pixels; the WaPo mustered coverage and here is CNN:
Nine soldiers died in the battle. Pitts read their names: Spc. Sergio Abad, Cpl. Jonathan Ayers, Cpl. Jason Bogar, 1st Lt. Jonathan Brostrom, Sgt. Israel Garcia, Cpl. Jason Hovater, Cpl. Matthew Phillips, Cpl. Pruitt Rainey, and Cpl. Gunnar Zwilling.
"Thank you, chosen few," he said.
"Valor was everywhere that day," Pitts told reporters at the White House following the ceremony.
"And the real heroes are the nine men who made the ultimate sacrifice so the rest of us could return home,” he added. “It is their names, not mine, that I want people to know."
Pitts, as Obama had in his remarks, named each of the fallen soldiers:
Spc. Sergio Abad, Cpl. Jonathan Ayers, Cpl. Jason Bogar, 1st Lt. Jonathan Brostrom, Sgt. Israel Garcia, Cpl. Jason Hovater, Cpl. Matthew Phillips, Cpl. Pruitt Rainey, and Cpl. Gunnar Zwilling.
“The chosen few," Pitts said.
And the TOTUS came through:
Most of all, Ryan says he considers this medal “a memorial for the guys who didn’t come home.” So today, we honor nine American soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for us all.
The son who “absorbed love like a sponge;” the expectant father whose dream would later come true, a beautiful baby girl -- Specialist Sergio Abad.
The boy who dominated the soccer fields, and fell in love with motorcycles, and there in that remote outpost took a direct hit in the helmet and kept on fighting -- Corporal Jonathan Ayers.
The photographer whose beautiful pictures captured the spirit of the Afghan people, and who wrote to his family: “Afghanistan is exactly [where]…I wanted to be” -- Corporal Jason Bogar.
The father who loved surfing with his son; the platoon leader who led a dash through the gunfire to that post to reinforce his men -- 1st Lieutenant Jonathan Brostrom.
An immigrant from Mexico who became a proud American soldier, on his third tour, whose final thoughts were of his family and his beloved wife, Lesly -- Sergeant Israel Garcia.
A young man of deep faith, who served God and country, who could always get a laugh with his impersonation of his commander -- Corporal Jason Hovater.
The husband who couldn’t wait to become an uncle; the adventurous spirit who in every photo from Afghanistan has a big smile on his face -- Corporal Matthew Phillips.
The big guy with an even bigger heart, a prankster whose best play was cleaning up at the poker table with his buddies and his dad -- Corporal Pruitt Rainey.
And the youngest, just 20 years old, the “little brother” of the platoon, who loved to play guitar, and who, says his dad, did everything in his life with passion -- Corporal Gunnar Zwilling.
These American patriots lived to serve us all. They died to protect each of us. And their legacy lives on in the hearts of all who love them still, especially their families. Mothers. Fathers. Wives. Brothers and sisters. Sons and daughters.
To you, their families, I know no words can match the depth of your loss, but please know that this nation will honor your soldiers now and forever. And I would ask the Gold Star families from that deployment to please stand -- including Ali Kahler, age 11, and Jase Brostrom, who this week turns 12. Please stand. (Applause.)
That is a shameful job by the Times.