Heroes From ‘Non-Norwegian’ Countries (UPDATES)
Considering president Trump’s deplorable comments about immigrants from “shithole” (or “shithouse”) countries, the question arises, how does one measure the citizenship, loyalty and patriotism of these immigrants.
I am sure there are many ways, but one might be to look at the recipients of our nation’s highest award for valor in action against an enemy force while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces: The Congressional Medal of Honor.
Here are some facts:
• Since the American Civil War, more than 700 recipients of the award have been immigrants.
• Of these, almost 20 were immigrants from countries the president would classify as “shithole countries.”
• 29 Native Americans have been awarded the Medal of Honor.
• 33 Asian Pacific Americans have been awarded the Medal.
• Sixty men of Hispanic heritage have been awarded the Medal of Honor. (Watch the video below)
• As of June 2015, 90 Medals of Honor have been awarded to African Americans.
• In 1996, President Clinton awarded seven Medals of Honor (six posthumously) to African Americans who had previously been denied the Medal du to “racial disparity.”
• In 2000, President Clinton awarded the Medal of Honor to 22 Asian-Pacific Americans.
• In 2014, President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to 19 Hispanic, Jewish an African Americans who were “overlooked” previously.
This essay, essentially about bigotry in America at the highest levels of our government, would be woefully incomplete without including the impassioned remarks Sen. Cory Booker addressed to Homeland Security Secretary Kirsten Nielsen on Wednesday during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of Nielsen’s department.
It is one of the most stirring speeches I have heard from our lawmakers in recent years.
Please watch it below:
Or go here
[Having problems posting the entire video – Below is a shortened version]
WATCH: "Your silence and your amnesia is complicity," Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) told Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen after she told lawmakers that she "did not hear" President Trump use vulgar language when referring to African countries.
Posted by PBS NewsHour on Tuesday, January 16, 2018
In a weekend article, the Washington Post describes how the “U.S. military history is rich with immigrants who left the countries Trump disparaged and sacrificed in combat.”
For example, Marine Maj. Ademola Fabayo (then a first lieutenant) from the “shithole country” of Nigeria who, in Sept. 2009, during a bloody battle in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, at the risk of his own life maneuvered under heavy fire through a kill zone and helped recover a wounded comrade. For his act of combat valor, Fabayo was awarded the Navy Cross – second only to the Medal of Honor.
During the same battle, then-Marine Staff Sgt. Juan Rodriguez-Chavez (below), from Mexico (another country much maligned by our president), also risked his life four times in attempts to reach missing Marines. For his valor, Rodriguez-Chavez was also awarded the Navy Cross.
Dakota Meyer, who received the Medal of Honor for his heroism during the same firefight, wrote in a recent tweet to Trump:
I Stood side by side with SSG Rodriguez-Chavez in the Ganjgal Valley; bad ass Marine, American and immigrant. I’ll go even further to say the only reason I’m alive is for the effort of immigrants including my Afghan interpreter who is now an American immigrant.
There are numerous other examples of immigrants from the so-called “shithole countries” who have “embraced, enriched and enabled America.”
During “Hispanic Heritage Month 2016,” the Department of Defense (DoD) published profiles of several Hispanic members of the U.S. armed forces who have done exactly that.
Among them, 2nd Lt. Alix Schoelcher Idrache, an immigrant from Haiti who earned his citizenship, served for two years as an enlisted soldier with the Maryland Army National Guard and went on to graduate from West Point’s U.S. Military Academy in May 2016. The photo of the brand-new Army 2nd Lieutenant overcome with emotion went viral (Lead image).
I woke up this morning and found my face all over Facebook and with it myriad of amazing comments about my accomplishments…I am humbled and shocked at the same time. Thank you for giving me a shot at the American Dream and may God bless America, the greatest country on earth.
By the way, the 953-strong Class of 2016 West Point graduates included 77 Hispanics, 71 Asian-American/Pacific Islanders, 69 African-Americans and 12 Native Americans. Not bad for immigrants and descendants from “non-Norwegian” countries.
Finally, and very recently, New York Army National Guard Pfc. Emmanuel Mensah died during a fire in an apartment building in the Bronx, New York City, while attempting to rescue others, after already having saved four lives. “Mensah’s remains were found in a location that indicated his intention to rescue more people if he could,” according to DoD.
The 27-year-old immigrant from Ghana, had just graduated from Ordnance School.
New York Army National Guard Pfc. Emmanuel Mensah. New York Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion courtesy photo
Senior Army leaders, New York City Mayor William DeBlasio, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer are among those who have acknowledged Mensah’s heroism.
In a Jan. 9 Facebook post, Schumer wrote: “On behalf of all New Yorkers, and all Americans, I want to express my sincerest gratitude to Pfc. Mensah and his family for the heroic actions he displayed on that fateful day; it will not be forgotten.”
DeBlasio wrote: “Private Emmanuel Mensah was a first-generation immigrant, a soldier and a New Yorker. He gave his life rescuing his neighbors in the Bronx fire. His heroism exemplifies the best of our city. Rest in peace.”
Mensah has already been recommended for, and presented with, several awards for his actions, including the New York State Medal for Valor, the state’s highest military award. The Army Times reports that Mensah will receive the Soldier’s Medal, his service’s highest award for valor outside combat.
Finally, according to the Washington Post: “About 5,000 non-citizens join the U.S. military each year, with about 25,000 non-citizens across the force…”
How dare we solicit and accept the service and sacrifice of these men and women, yet call some of their native countries either “sh*thole” or “sh*thouse.”