Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ask presidential candidates to award Sgt. Rafael Peralta the Medal of Honor once in White House

There is precedent for a president to overrule a decision by his secretary of defense and award the Medal of Honor.

And that's what we need to push for -- not from President Bush who has shown a lack of integrity on so many issues -- but from the new president who takes office in January in the case of Marine hero Sgt. Rafael Peralta.

Peralta, already wounded in the head and body, pulled an enemy grenade to his body and saved five members of his team. That's what a team leader is supposed to do -- make sure his comrades get back home alive. And Sgt. Peralta's did.

They testified to his heroism and convinced a military board considering him for the Medal of Honor. Even President Bush cited Peralta's heroism at a Memorial Day event in 2005.

Yet now the secretary of defense has rejected the Medal of Honor for Peralta. It is a travesty. This outrage must not be allowed to stand.

No petition will convince the Bush administration. But if you come across the presidential candidates over the next six and a half weeks in your community, bring up Sgt. Peralta and his heroism and the need to award him the Medal of Honor. Perhap they will commit to do the right thing once in the White House.

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