Know Your Medal of Honor Recipients:
Private Benoni Strivson (US Army) received his Medal of Honor for his actions from August to October, in Arizona. His citation reads:
Bravery in scouts and actions against Indians.
Sergeant James N. Strong (US Army) received his Medal of Honor for his actions on May 27, 1863, at Port Hudson, Louisiana. His citation reads:
Volunteered in response to a call and took part in the movement that was made upon the enemy's works under a heavy fire therefrom in advance of the general assault.
Specialist Fourth Class Robert F. Stryker (US Army) received his Medal of Honor for his actions on November 7, 1967, near Loc Ninh, Republic of Vietnam. His citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Stryker, U.S. Army, distinguished himself while serving with Company C. Sp4c. Stryker was serving as a grenadier in a multicompany reconnaissance in force near Loc Ninh. As his unit moved through the dense underbrush, it was suddenly met with a hail of rocket, automatic weapons and small arms fire from enemy forces concealed in fortified bunkers and in the surrounding trees. Reacting quickly, Sp4c. Stryker fired into the enemy positions with his grenade launcher. During the devastating exchange of fire, Sp4c. Stryker detected enemy elements attempting to encircle his company and isolate it from the main body of the friendly force. Undaunted by the enemy machinegun and small-arms fire, Sp4c. Stryker repeatedly fired grenades into the trees, killing enemy snipers and enabling his comrades to sever the attempted encirclement. As the battle continued, Sp4c. Stryker observed several wounded members of his squad in the killing zone of an enemy claymore mine. With complete disregard for his safety, he threw himself upon the mine as it was detonated. He was mortally wounded as his body absorbed the blast and shielded his comrades from the explosion. His unselfish actions were responsible for saving the lives of at least 6 of his fellow soldiers. Sp4c. Stryker's great personal bravery was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
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I have lived in South Carolina my whole life (18 years on James Island, 13 years in Summerville and 5 in Rock Hill) and I am proud of that. I’m proud to be from the South. I believe there is a book titled American by Birth, Southern by the Grace of God… and I truly feel this way. I don’t deny or hide that fact. I love the South. If God wanted me to love the north, I figure, He would pick up James Island and put it in the north. The first shot of the Civil War was fired from JI (if the plaque my Labor Day Uncle DG and I saw many years ago is to be believed). There are men in my family tree (on both sides) who fought for the Confederate States. I don’t deny this, either. I do not believe these men owned large plantations with tons of slaves. I’m not 100% sure any of them owned any slaves. I choose to believe that they fought to protect this great state from the yankees… but I honestly have no idea. For all I know, they were a bunch of jerks who beat slaves all day/every day and only fought to keep the black man down. But since I have no way of knowing if that is true, either, I choose to believe they were good people. Where am I going with this? I’ll tell you…
For my whole life, the Confederate Flag (at least the most well-known version of the Confederate Flag) has either been on top of the State House or on the State House grounds. It was put there (on top of the State House… when Dad was in college), it has been said, in honor of the 100th Anniversary of the Civil War. If I am not mistaken, it was only supposed to be up for 1 year. This was during the civil rights movement… they ended up leaving the flag up there. Officially, I believe, to honor those who fought… but I don’t think it’s that big of a stretch to see it as a big middle finger to the civil rights movement. Many years later (when I was in college), there was a compromise to remove it from the top of the State House and put it on the grounds at a memorial site. That site ended up just being right on the busiest street. I was able to convince myself that this was ok because it was part of a compromise… but really, what bigger middle finger could there have been. Still, I viewed the flag as a way to honor those who fought for the state. And, I really believe that many other people in this state felt the same way. But…
…But, a bunch of racist assholes also used the flag. They used it when committing racist, hateful acts. Sure, they had other things too… but the Confederate flag was all over the place. Sadly, the racist assholes still use it today. That doesn’t mean everyone who likes the flag is racist… it just means that the racist people have ruined the flag.
For most of my life, I thought “they” (the people on the other side from my views) were the people wanting the flag to be taken off of the state house grounds. Now, I’ve come to realize I had it wrong all along. The real “they”… the real people on the other side, were the racist jackasses who used it to promote hate. And I’m at the point, that I can no longer support the same thing they support (even if we supported it for different reasons). That is why I emailed my state senator and representative yesterday morning to let them know my views. Maybe they don’t care, but I do. Plus, they have no problem sending me emails I didn’t ask for, so I had no problem emailing them. I know this flag didn’t cause hateful things to happen (like the killing of nine innocent people in a church at a Bible study), but that isn’t a reason to keep it there. It’s a distraction that keeps people from focusing on issues that could really make a difference, so the time has come to take it down.
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