EndNotes

Courage and tenderness

President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Honor to former Army Capt. William D. Swenson, of Seattle, at the White House on Tuesday. (Associated Press)
President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Honor to former Army Capt. William D. Swenson, of Seattle, at the White House on Tuesday. (Associated Press)

Army Capt. William Swenson received the Medal of Honor this week from President Obama for heroic actions performed in Afghanistan in 2009. Swenson, who now lives in Seattle, risked his life to save other troops, as well as Afghan allies, and he stayed in the fight to retrieve the bodies of four Americans killed in the battle.

Perhaps the most poignant moment of Swenson’s actions – caught on film by a medevac crewman – was when he kissed his wounded comrade on the head. The moment was their last together. The serviceman died a month later.

It takes courage for someone – a trained soldier as well as others - to stay in the middle of violence and perhaps even greater courage to hold the violence at bay, while pausing for a moment of profound and final compassion. 

(S-R photo: President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Honor to former Army Capt. William D. Swenson, of Seattle, at the White House on Tuesday.)




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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.






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