Sergeant First Class Jared Monti was leading a reconnaissance mission on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2006 when the grenade hit.
Besieged, under fire and outnumbered by the Taliban, Monti and his men dove for cover. But one of his men got hit. So Monti left his cover three times to try to retrieve him.
On the third try, Monti was hit by a grenade and died on the field.
For his service, Monti was awarded the Medal of Honor. As he presented Monti’s parents the award, President Barack Obama captured full and well the meaning of his life and death.
“Do we truly understand the nature of these virtues, to serve and to sacrifice?” the president said. “Jared Monti knew. The Monti family knows. And they know that the actions we honor today were not a passing moment of courage. They were the culmination of a life of character and commitment.”
The president was right. Monti and his family have a unique and humbling understanding of service and sacrifice. They and the families of other fallen soldiers don’t pay lip service to these virtues; they live them every day.
Obama has a historic opportunity. He should send the mother of a fallen soldier to Oslo, Norway to accept the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of all the American servicemen and women who are the true peacekeepers, as conservative star Liz Cheney proposed on Fox News last weekend. Doing so would, in her words, “remind the Nobel committee that each one of them sleeps soundly at night because … the U.S. military is the greatest peacekeeping force in the world today.”
Liberal author and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman had a variation on the same good theme. He suggested that Obama go to Oslo, but that he accept the prize “on behalf of the most important peacekeepers in the world for the last century — the men and women of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.”
By nominating Obama for the Nobel Peace Prize just two weeks into his presidency, the Nobel Committee cynically hopes to make the president a pawn in their anti-American game. They prefer an America whose defining feature is weakness and whose defining approach to the world is amoral, toothless multilateralism.
Obama should resist this vision of America by sending its opposite to Oslo: Someone who hasn’t just mouthed the easy, empty words of global peace but someone who has genuinely sacrificed on its behalf.
The president himself has admitted he doesn’t deserve the Nobel award. And by sending someone who does, he would bring more meaning and integrity to an award for “peace” than the Nobel Committee has shown.
The price SFC Jared Monti and his family have paid may even awe and humble the enlightened men and women of Oslo.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has published 19 books, including 10 fiction and nonfiction best-sellers. He is the founder of the Center for Health Transformation and chairman of American Solutions for Winning the Future. For more information, visit www.newt.org. His exclusive column for The Examiner appears Fridays.