Lest we forget …

April 5, 2009


Lest we Forget …

Mike Monsoor, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for jumping on a grenade in Iraq, giving his life to save his fellow Seals. 

During Mike Monsoor’s funeral in San Diego , as his coffin was being moved from the hearse to the grave site at Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery , SEAL’s were lined up on both sides of the pallbearers route forming  a column of two’s, with the coffin moving up the center.  As Mike’s coffin passed, each SEAL, having removed his gold Trident from his uniform, slapped it down embedding the Trident in the wooden coffin.  By the time the coffin arrived graveside, it looked as though it had a gold inlay from all the Tridents pinned to it. This was a fitting send-off for this warrior hero.

Mike’s story was emailed to me by a friend from my law enforcement days.  He is now serving in Iraq, training Iraqi police.  He sent it because he wanted to know why this story was not on the front page of every newspaper in America.  Those who serve in harm’s way … like Mike Monsoor, sometimes get called to move beyond service and, in a split second,  make the ultimate sacrifice.  Mike answered that call and deserves our highest recognition and gratitude for doing so.  I, in no way want to diminish the huge act of heroism of Mike Monsoor.  I do want to recognize that there are many like Mike Monsoor who risk their lives every day so that we may enjoy the peace and the freedoms that we do.  They serve in the military, in law enforcement and other public safety services.

Long before I was in law enforcement, police officers began receiving “shoot, don’t shoot” training.  The cop must decide in a split second whether the target presented is a threat and whether or not to eliminate the threat with deadly force.  Because you never shoot to wound, in a split second you must decide whether to take the life of another.  As you probably suspect, when I a police officer in San Rafael I had to know that I could make this “shoot, don’t shoot” decision quickly.  As you would imagine, I already knew that, if need be, I could take a life to stop the imminent threat of serious harm to another or to me.  Now here’s the part you probably don’t know.  When every cop, fireman or soldier serving you puts on that uniform, each has already decided to put his or her self in harm’s way for this way of life that we enjoy; for you, for their families, and for the colleagues with whom they serve.  Just last week Oakland P.D. Officers Mark Dunakin, John Hege, Ervin Romans and Daniel Sakai were laid to rest after put themselves in harm’s way to protect.  This week we lost three more in Pittsburgh.

You might wonder why I decided to include this story about a Navy Petty Officer in this blog of observations about balance, business and life.  The answer is simple.  I took Mike Monsoor, his fellow warriors, every police officer, sheriff’s deputy and fire fighter for granted.  I did it every day … and I’m betting that if you haven’t served, you did too.  It’s time I stopped taking them for granted and said “thank you.”  Neither Petty Officer Moonsoor, nor Officers Dunakin, Hege, Romans and Sakai will ever know what I’m about to say.  But I know that others who are there, protecting us and our way of life will. 

To those in uniform who serve: Thank you for serving; thank you for protecting me, the freedoms I enjoy, and the American way of life.  Thank you for keeping me, my kids and grandkids safe and out of harm’s way.  Above all, thank you for already having made the decision that, if called upon, you too are prepared to step in harm’s way. 

One last thing for the rest of you who are reading this … the next time you see a cop or firefighter doing his or her job, if you make eye contact, try smiling, try lifting your hand off the wheel as though you’re waving to a friend, maybe even mouth the words, “thank you.”  And in the airport, if a service member is travelling to or from their duty station, at the very least, a look at his or her name tag; and then a “thanks for serving Petty Officer Monsoor” would be a nice gesture.  It may be your  last opportunity to show your gratitude.



The Moving Funeral of Petty Officer Mike Monsoor-Truth!

Summary of the eRumor:  
The eRumor describes the funeral of Navy petty officer Mike Monsoor, who lost is own life in Iraq to save the lives of other Navy SEALs.  At his funeral in San Diego, California, SEALs lined up on both sides of the route of the pallbearers and loudly slapped gold tridents from their uniforms on the wooden casket as a tribute to their fallen comrade.
The Truth:  
The story is true and, despite the comment about not being reported by the media, was given coverage by several news outlets across the U.S. including Fox news.Monsoor was killed in Iraq in 2006 and was awarded the Medal of Honor in April.  His funeral took place in July, 2008 at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego.Other Navy SEALs lined the procession and placed the tridents from their uniforms on the casket.  The trident is a U.S. Navy special warfare badge worn by SEALs.  It represents the three aspects of SEAL special operations, sea, air, and land.

He died after throwing himself on a grenade to prevent it from killing others whom he had been assigned to protect on a rooftop.


Mike Stockwell writes this blog for his clients, friends and frankly, for his own entertainment.  Mike is the founder of The Pacific Group – Business Advisory Services and works with owners and executives small and mid-size businesses in California and Hawaii, helping them to bring balance back to their lives and take their business to the next level.  Find out more about Mike and his business at: www.TPG-BAS.com and contact him at Mike@TPG-BAS.com 


Copyright © 2009-2010 by Michael Stockwell

All rights reserved.  No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, or digital, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system or search, without permission in writing from the author.  


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