It's also something that actually happens.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor receives the Congressional Medal of Honor1 posthumously, for saving the lives of others by sacrificing his own.
Monsoor was with a SEAL team, working with Iraqi soldiers to provide sniper security in Ramadi, when a grenade bounced off his chest and landed near him. He dropped on the grenade. Two SEALs near him were injured, another, about a dozen feet away, wasn't.
- "He never took his eye off the grenade, his only movement was down toward it," ... "He undoubtedly saved mine and the other SEALs' lives, and we owe him."
(a lieutenant who got shrapnel wounds to both legs that day)
- "Petty Officer Monsoor distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism on Sept. 29, 2006"
(presidential press secretary Dana Perino)
- "He was just a fun-loving guy," ... "Always got something funny to say, always got a little mischievous look on his face."
(a petty officer 2nd class who went through SEAL training with Monsoor)
"Prior to his death, Monsoor had already demonstrated courage under fire. He has been posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his actions May 9 in Ramadi, when he and another SEAL pulled a team member shot in the leg to safety while bullets pinged off the ground around them."
There's more detail at NavySeals.com - Michael A. Monsoor.
"Monsoor" joins thousands of other American names in the list of Medal of Honor recipients, including:
- Corporal Hiroshi H. Miyamura
- First Sergeant Maximo Yabes
- Pharmacists Mate 2nd Class Class George E Wahlen
- Army Surgeon Mary Walker
- Sergeant Alvin C. York
- Colonel Jay R. Vargas
- Sergeant Robert Emmett O'Malley
Update April 1, 2008
(No, this is not an April Fool prank.)
I've been more aware of the surname "Monsoor" since writing this post, and have noticed some references to Michael Monsoor's background on the Web. For the most part, these have been quite positive, and sometimes curious.
One which caught my attention was a comment left on another blog's post: "I am moved by Michael Monsoor's bravery in combat and my condolences go out to his family.
"Monsoor is a Muslim name. I would like to know if Michael Monsoor was, or his family is, Muslim."
The person who wrote this expressed a reasonable curiosity about Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor's family and background. "Monsoor is a Muslim name," however, shows what I believe to be a common misunderstanding of Islam, Muslims, and culture.
Monsoor is a Middle Eastern family name. There are Monsoors in Lebanon, for example.
Although many Muslims are in Lebanon, that doesn't make Monsoor a Muslim name. For example, Schmidt is a German name. Quite a few Germans are Christians. That doesn't make "Schmidt" a Christian name, although some might assume that a Schmidt would be Christian.
Why does the name Monsoor 'sound' Muslim? Islam has been identified with Middle Eastern nationalities and ethnic groups. That doesn't necessarily mean that all people with Middle Eastern names are Muslims, though.
Back to Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor: His given name is "Michael." That name is traced back to Hebrew, and in the Christian Bible is the name of one of the archangels. Offhand, I'd say that it's an odd name for a Muslim to have.
But, stranger things have happened.
And all of this misses an important point. Monsoor is an American family name: just like O'Hare, Schwinghammer, Nguyen, Nakamura, Corradino, Bashir, and Rangasammy. And, of course, Smith.
It doesn't matter what sort of service was done at Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor's funeral. He's an American, and Americans can all be proud to be part of his country.
- "Navy SEAL Posthumously Awarded Medal of Honor"
FOXNews (March 31, 2008)
- "Navy SEAL Dies Saving Comrades"
Military.com (October 14, 2006)
- "The Congressional Medal Of Honor" website
New post on Michael A. Monsoor, at "Michael Monsoor to Receive Posthumus Medal of Honor" (April 2, 2008)
Related posts, on Individuals and the War on Terror.