April 04, 2005
Two years ago today, Sergeant First Class Paul Smith saved the lives of more than 100 American soldiers in the battle for Baghdad's airport by heroically repelling a more heavily armed, numerically-superior Iraqi force. SFC Smith was able to hold off enemy forces long enough for American reinforcements to arrive--at which time he was mortally wounded by Iraqi fire.
Today, President Bush posthumously awarded Smith our nation's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor. Smith's widow and children represented him at the White House award ceremony during which his 10-year-old son, David, accepted the medal from the president. An excerpt of the president's remarks:
Scripture tells us, as the General said, that a man has no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. And that is exactly the responsibility Paul Smith believed the Sergeant stripes on his sleeve had given him. In a letter he wrote to his parents but never mailed, he said that he was prepared to "give all that I am to ensure that all my boys make it home."
On this day two years ago, Sergeant Smith gave his all for his men. Five days later, Baghdad fell, and the Iraqi people were liberated. And today, we bestow upon Sergeant Smith the first Medal of Honor in the war on terror. He's also the first to be awarded this new Medal of Honor flag, authorized by the United States Congress. We count ourselves blessed to have soldiers like Sergeant Smith, who put their lives on the line to advance the cause of freedom and protect the American people.
Like every one of the men and women in uniform who have served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Sergeant Paul Smith was a volunteer. We thank his family for the father, husband and son and brother who can never be replaced. We recall with appreciation the fellow soldiers whose lives he saved, and the many more he inspired. And we express our gratitude for a new generation of Americans, every bit as selfless and dedicated to liberty as any that has gone on before -- a dedication exemplified by the sacrifice and valor of Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith.
The Army has unveiled a website honoring Sergeant Smith. Check it out.
LinksSFC Paul R. Smith MoH Tribute
CPL Jason L. Dunham MoH Tribute
LT Michael P. Murphy MoH Tribute
MA2 Michael Monsoor MoH Tribute
MSG Woodrow W. Keeble MoH Tribute
PFC Ross McGinnis MoH Tribute
Coalition to Salute America's Heroes
Statues of Servicemen Fund
VFW Military Assistance Program
Wounded Warrior Project
Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund
Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund
Adopt A Platoon
Marines-Law Enforcement Foundation
Special Ops Warrior Foundation
America's Heroes of Freedom
Adopt A Sniper
Operation USO Care Package
Operation Military Pride
Books For Soldiers
Vets For Freedom
Gathering of Eagles
Faces of the Fallen
Reagan Presidential Library
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