One could say that every person who enters war on behalf of their country has made an extraordinary commitment because most citizens don’t do that. Once they have trained to make their contribution, and once they have actually been deployed in battle, they have an opportunity to turn their commitment into extraordinary achievement. That means performing with honor and distinction, which is recognized by their commanders and peers.
Veterans from World War II all made an extraordinary commitment. Some were more stellar than others in the field of battle. Yesterday, I saw a veteran at the WWII Memorial who wore insignias sporting his contribution to WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Another Vet from WWII fought at the Battle of the Bulge. Those are examples of people who have served with distinction. My friend, Dave Dowdell, was wounded in combat in Vietnam and is fighting cancer contracted from exposure to Agent Orange. That is heroic distinction.
Now, ask yourself, what is Bowe Bergdahl?
He made a commitment as a PFC serving in Afghanistan.
He apparently walked away from his post at night and was captured by the Taliban.
While in captivity, he became a hostage and was tortured.
He was traded in a hostage swap for high level Taliban enemy combatants.
What makes him a hero? Is it that he made a commitment? Is it that he dishonored his commitment? The facts will reveal the true story.
In the meantime, it is imperative that America not cheapen our use of words about heroes, honor and distinction. Officials in government that don’t know the difference should not have the privilege to serve in government.