"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, May 27, 2013

More Rick Atkinson for Memorial Day

Here's another Memorial Day moment from Rick Atkinson's fine new book, The Guns at Last Light:
Murphy and his rifle platoon were making for St.-Tropez at ten A.M., when German machine-gun fire rattled down a rocky draw, stopping the advance with the incivility of a slammed door.   Murphy scampered back to the beach, grabbed a light machine-gun from a dawdling gunner, and dragged it back uphill to his men.  With his commandeered gun, grenades, and a carbine, he killed two enemy gunners atop a knoll and enticed a white flag from a second nest.   But when Private First Class Lattie Tipton stood to take the surrender, a sniper shot him dead.   Enraged, Murphy killed the surrendering Germans with grenades before seizing an enemy machine-gun; firing from the hip, he exterminated two more enemy fighting positions.   "My whole being," he later wrote, "is concentrated on killing."... When the shooting finally ceased, Murphy slipped a pack under Tipton's head as a pillow, then sat down and wept.
The "Murphy" of this story is, of course, Audie Murphy, the most decorated American soldier of the War.   For this action he "only" won the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest medal for valor America awards.   Later he would win the Medal of Honor.

The citations of America's Medal of Honor winners can be found here, and make for good Memorial Day reading.

Lest we forget.

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