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Interesting US History
A Website Devoted to Interesting Events in U.S. History





May 25, 2009

Beyond the Medal

Peter C. Lemon was just 19 years old when his life would change in a way the very few of us can begin to comprehend. Lemon was serving in Tay Ninh province during the Vietnam War on April 1, 1970 when his 18-man platoon was attacked by 400 enemy troops. Early in the firefight a mortar exploded near him vaporizing one of his close friends and wounding him in the head, back, and neck.

Lemon and his platoon fought off three waves of attacks that night, watched three of their close friends die and faced the prospect of death themselves. During the third assault with death appearing almost certain, Lemon jumped up on the pile of dirt surrounding camp out in the open and continued to fire at the enemy. When morning came, three lay dead and every one of the remaining men in that platoon had been injured and Peter Lemon insisted that the other wounded men be evacuated before him even though his injuries were serious enough to keep him in the hospital for the next month.

Pete Lemon would eventually receive a Medal of Honor for his heroic actions that night but as far as he is concerned, there were 18 heroes that night and three of them paid the ultimate price. On the day he received the medal, he was one of only 204 living Americans to hold that honor. He is also the only Canadian citizen to be presented with the medal for fighting in the Vietnam War.

After years of trying to direct the praise of his actions towards others, Pete Lemon began to wonder about the other recipients of the Medal of Honor and wanted to know more about these hero’s beyond the medal so in 1997 he put some of the thoughts, feelings and stories of our country’s Medal of Honor recipients into a book called Beyond the Medal: a Journey From Their Hearts to Yours. On this Memorial Day, we all need to take a moment to reflect on the heroic acts of others that have allowed us to maintain our freedom in this great country.

Mark Bowman

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