Pete Souza/The White House
President Obama has a beer with Dakota Meyer on the patio outside of the Oval Office, Sept. 14, 2011.
President Obama has a beer with Dakota Meyer on the patio outside of the Oval Office, Sept. 14, 2011. Pete Souza/The White House
At a time when pessimism abounds — about the economy, about the state of American politics, about Afghanistan, along comes the story of U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer to remind us that our better angels can be found even at the worst of moments.
In 2009 Meyer, along with his fellow Marine, Staff Sgt. Juan Rodriguez-Chavez, disobeyed orders to repeatedly expose themselves to enemy fire to rescue from what was likely certain death 30 fellow Marines and Afghan troopers trapped in a Taliban ambush.
For that act of defiant bravery, Meyer will be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor Thursday at a White House officiated by President Obama. Meyer becomes the first living Marine to receive the nation's highest military honor in decades. NPR's Tom Bowman report for Morning Edition provides more details.
Meyer, now 23, had a beer with Obama Wednesday on the White House patio. The word "hero" is so overused in our reality TV age as to become greatly devalued.
Sgt. Dakota Meyer in Afghanistan in an undated photo released by the U.S. Marine Corps.
Sgt. Dakota Meyer in Afghanistan in an undated photo released by the U.S. Marine Corps. Anonymous/AP
But Meyer is an authentic one in the old-fashioned sense, the genuine article. Even the most cynical among us would be hard put to offer him anything other than profound respect.