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10/14/2006
NO GREATER LOVE
CATEGORY: War on Terror

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor, center, sent this photo home from Iraq days before he died.

The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.

To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.

(“To An Athlete Dying Young” by A.E. Housman)

Garden Grove, California is a “stiller town” today. The city of 166,000 lost one of its favorite sons on September 29 when Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor, a Navy SEAL, performed one of those acts of selfless courage that defines the term heroism.

His SEAL team was in support of a joint US-Iraqi operation in Ramadi when a grenade was thrown through the door of their sniper hideout. It bounced off Monsoor’s chest and fell to the floor mere feet from 4 of his comrades. With every natural instinct for self preservation in his body and mind screaming for him to flee, Michael Monsoor made a conscious, rational choice; he deliberately fell on the grenade sacrificing his life so that his comrades would live.

In the grand scheme of things, Monsoor’s death should be considered no more nor less a tragedy than those of any other American or innocent Iraqi in this war. Each life lost violently cut short. Each death a blow endured by family, friends, and neighbors. Every man, woman, and child taken leaving behind only scattered memories of what they were like when they trod the earth, whole and human, smiling and laughing, loving and caring.

But in Garden Grove today – and for those of us who read and marvel at Michael Monsoor’s last heroic act – there are the questions with no good answers. Questions we ask of ourselves. Perhaps questions we’d like to ask of Michael. We put ourselves in Michael’s position in that sniper’s nest with the grenade lying on the ground and the chasm open, gaping beneath our feet. We rightly ask ourselves what we would have done? Why, Michael? How?

Was it something in his training as a Navy SEAL that gave him this otherworldly courage to commend his life and spirit to his friends? Or was it something even deeper. Something he carried around as part of himself all his life; a product of upbringing, of faith, and yes, of love.

Surely love must be considered as an answer to some of those questions. And we can find clues that Michael’s last thoughts were about love as he made the choice to die in the words of his comrades and friends:

(Patrick) Barnes said his friend was an adventurer who enjoyed traveling in Europe while he was deployed in Italy and loved snowboarding, fast cars and motorcycles.

He was also “honest, straightforward and a great friend.”

“He was selective about the friends he made,” Barnes said, fighting back tears. “But when you became his friend, you became his brother.”

And from his brothers in arms, a description of a purposeful man:

“He was just a fun-loving guy,” said a 26-year-old petty officer 2nd class who went through the grueling 29-week SEAL training with Monsoor. “Always got something funny to say, always got a little mischievous look on his face.”

Other SEALS described the Garden Grove, Calif., native as a modest and humble man who drew strength from his family and his faith. His father and brother are former Marines, said a 31-year-old petty officer 2nd class.

Prior to his death, Monsoor had already demonstrated courage under fire. He has been posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his actions May 9 in Ramadi, when he and another SEAL pulled a team member shot in the leg to safety while bullets pinged off the ground around them.

Incredibly, Michael failed to qualify for the SEALs the first time out. The brutal qualifications course that is designed to test both the physical stamina and mental toughness of the individual sailor proved too much for him – as it does for 75% of all candidates.

But what’s incredible is that Michael didn’t give up. He tried again and succeeded in his dream to be part of the best of the best. And he accepted the credo of the Special Forces warrior:

“One of the things that is not obvious at first glance is what makes a special operator and that is an absolute internal mandate to go into the most difficult combat situations you can, to face death, and to win. That’s what it takes to get through training. That’s what most of the guys want when they start training and then training reinforces that premise. To go into very risky, very personally risky situations, where it is one on one, and go duke it out with the bad guys.That’s what SOF guys want.”

What manner of man places himself in harms way with such enthusiasm and abandon? I tried answering that question on the occasion of the single worst day in the history of the Navy SEALs when 11 men lost their lives in an operation in Afghanistan:

We may have known these kind of men when they were children and young boys. They always seemed to have a group of admirers trailing them around, trying to keep up with their adventurous and audacious spirit. They would have had an easy way with grownups who also liked and admired them. They were good at sports but rarely bragged about their accomplishments. They were fiercely loyal to their friends and were always there if they needed defending.

Later in life, you would probably see a quiet confidence in the young man that was striking in that it made him seem older than his years. He would have a small circle of friends who were fiercely loyal to him. A natural leader, you would have found it easy to take orders from him and delighted when he gave out praise and crestfallen when he would criticize.

At bottom, the young man would have a calling, a desire to serve. It would manifest itself most noticeably by the serious way in which he would approach planning his life. Goal oriented to a fault, you would be hard pressed to remember a goal that he set for himself that he didn’t achieve.

The SEALs then takes this raw material and in the crucible of a torturous training program that tests both the physical stamina and mental toughness of the volunteer, they forge a warrior who lives to fight, fights to win, and never quits.

We will never know what went through Michael Monsoor’s mind as he leapt upon that grenade. My own belief (and hope) is that Michael’s final moments seemed to him to last a lifetime, the seconds slowing to a crawl to give him the chance to reflect on how lucky he had been to have so many to speak so highly of him after he was gone, to mourn for those who would feel the pain of his loss. And I have no doubt he would have had a colorful curse or two for the enemy that had defeated him in life but that he was cheating with his own heroic death.

Michael Monsoor was scheduled to leave Iraq in less than two weeks. His friends were planning a welcome home Halloween bash – his favorite holiday. Perhaps it was a fatalism that affects most warriors but Michael’s last email to his friend Danny Wright seemed eerily prescient regarding his fate:

Wright said Monsoor had sent him an e-mail two days before he died.

“He’d said he was proud of me,” he recalled. “And he told me to continue pursuing my dreams. It was as if he was saying goodbye and wishing me luck with my life.”

Monsoor is survived by his parents, two brothers, a sister, nieces and nephews…”

Michael is also survived by us: A grateful nation who will recall his sacrifice and the sacrifices of all the others with awe and a sense of obligation for a debt that we can never repay, only vow never to forget.

By: Rick Moran at 7:17 am
35 Responses to “NO GREATER LOVE”
  1. 1
    Mitzi Said:
    7:53 am 

    As a Navy Veteran, this story enforces all that I know about Seals. This young man gave his life in the most noble way a person can. It seems possible that he had a feeling tht something might happen, and that he may have contemplated that scenario, or different scenarios before he died. I think that an ordinary person would instinctively move away from a danger like a grenade. But this young man, in a decision that probably took a mili-second, leaped to meet the danger. He must have made that choice in his mind before the incident. And what a decision! Jesus said that there is no greatrer love that a man lay down his life for his friends. I hope that Michael is celebrating and being rewarded in Heaven. Pray for his family, and pray for America.

  2. 2
    Drewsmom Said:
    7:56 am 

    Rick, what a beautiful piece and tribute to a very brave soldier ….. I dare anybody with a different opinion of this war to dirty this blog with crap like “I support the troops, but” ...... they will only be denigrating his service like sheehan.
    This is why I go up to anyone I see in any uniform, stop, shake there hands and say “Thank you for what you do”.
    God bless this HERO and ALL OUR TROOPS

  3. 3
    Cao's Blog Trackbacked With:
    8:14 am 

    Greater love has no one more than this;

    Pictured at the center is Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor, a hero with courage; a Navy Seal. Read about him at Right Wing Nut House.
    Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.-John 15:13
    It’s been…

  4. 4
    Blue Crab Boulevard Trackbacked With:
    8:47 am 

    Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor

    Where do we get men such as these? How do we deserve such men. On September 29th, 2006, Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor, a US Navy SEAL, saved the lives of four of his fellow team members by throwing himself on a hand grenade that …

  5. 5
    ed Said:
    11:07 am 

    What a lovely, touching story. I agree with Drewsmom. Everyone can support the men and women of our military, not just with words, but deeds. I like Operation Uplink, (www.operationuplink.org) provided by the VFW. The programs allows anyone to donate money for phone cards, so military personnel can call home at not cost to them or their families. There are many such opportunites to provide real support. Everyone should find a way and do something tangible for our troops. It feels right and does good for people that need our support. Forget politics and think of the real people, like Petty Officer Monsoor. Thanks again for the moving story.

  6. 6
    Stop The ACLU Trackbacked With:
    11:52 am 

    Navy SEAL Saves Comrades By Falling on Grenade

    Via Fox:

    A Navy SEAL sacrificed his life to save his comrades by throwing himself on top of a grenade Iraqi insurgents tossed into their sniper hideout, fellow members of the elite force said.
    Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor had been ne…

  7. 7
    Chris Said:
    11:54 am 

    Rick,
    Thanks for this. Very sad, to say the least. Also inspirational and uplifting. We can never repay these guys and their families.

  8. 8
    Dale in Atlanta Said:
    1:48 pm 

    “...I wasn’t a Hero serving in a Company of Men, I was a Man, serving in a Company of Heroes…...”

    RIP Michael Mansoor, RIP…....

  9. 9
    Navy SEAL Saves Comrades By Falling on Grenade « The Bos’un Locker Pinged With:
    1:56 pm 

    [...] Rick Moran has an excellent post up honoring this heroe. We will never know what went through Michael Monsoor’s mind as he leapt upon that grenade. My own belief (and hope) is that Michael’s final moments seemed to him to last a lifetime, the seconds slowing to a crawl to give him the chance to reflect on how lucky he had been to have so many to speak so highly of him after he was gone, to mourn for those who would feel the pain of his loss. And I have no doubt he would have had a colorful curse or two for the enemy that had defeated him in life but that he was cheating with his own heroic death. [...]

  10. 10
    Baillie Said:
    2:26 pm 

    You don’t need to click on my link to read it, Michael, but it’s for you and your team and all like you.

    By the way, you don’t need all that equipment where you are now, so you’ll have room, and there’s a great whacking orange and white cat who’s just got there. I expect he’s a bit nervous and homesick, so if you’d let him sit on your lap a while, I’d be highly honored and so would he.

  11. 11
    Blue Star Chronicles Trackbacked With:
    3:31 pm 

    Navy Seal Mike Monsoor Falls On Grenade To Save Co

    Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor never took his eyes off the grenade that bounced off his chest onto the floor. He threw himself onto the grenade, sacrificing himself for the lives of his comrades in the room.

  12. 12
    Dale in Atlanta Said:
    3:38 pm 

    Baillie: first time ever in 2 years on Blogs, that I cried reading a post!

    Well done….

  13. 13
    Rodney A Stanton Said:
    8:23 pm 

    In my 45 years of adult life I have known a few Frogmen/SEALs. I had a friend whoe was a Frogman and gave his life fighting the real JFK’s war in 1963 Cliff Walsh God bless you Cliff.
    You do not get throuth BUD/s if you do not put the team ahead of yourself (as a general rule, which based on the SEALs I know is almost 100%). PO2 Michael A. Monsoor is in my opinion a typical SEAL. And I thank God there are still patriotic Americans like him that are keeping my family safe.

    An old exJarhead
    Nam 1967 – 1968

  14. 14
    The Moderate Voice Trackbacked With:
    4:48 am 

    An American Hero

    A magnificent tribute to a real, modern American hero. From the

  15. 15
    Carol Johnson Said:
    8:36 am 

    Thank you Michael. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Carol Johnson
    USN 1967-70 1973-79

  16. 16
    Andrew, West Des Moines Said:
    12:15 pm 

    I once visited the beautiful First Infantry Museum near Chicago and spent some time reading the stories of those who had received the Medal of Honor. I was amazed at how many had performed this same selfless act to save others. There are still a few good men in this nation, we lost one here.

  17. 17
    David Ensley Said:
    2:40 pm 

    Let us never forget his sacrifice and the heroism of all his brothers in arms.

    Thank you for your eloquent tribute to this brave man.

    I think we need to put pressure on the MSM to air stories like this about heroic acts by our soldiers. Until that happens, bloggers need to fill in the vacuum left by the media’s failure.

  18. 18
    B.Poster Said:
    5:09 pm 

    Rest in peace Michael Monsoor. My thoughts and prayers are with the fellow soldiers, family, and friends of him. May God bless all of you and grant you mercy and protection.

    Rick, thank you for bringing this story to our attention.

  19. 19
    Navyvet Said:
    8:31 pm 

    How many in the USA know the names John Basilone, Don Gentile, Joe Foss, Richard Bong, Audie Murphy, Gregory Boyington, or David McCampbell (just to name a few)?

    All of them were household names during World War II; most of them were recipients of the Medal of Honor. Newspapers of the day carried stories of their heroism as we waged a global war against tyranny and evil.

    Where are the stories of such men in our current conflict against tyranny and evil? How many names of MOH recipients from Iraq or Afghanistan are featured in the newspapers, the networks, even Fox? The mainstream outlets cannot bring themselves to refer to our enemy as “terrorist”, let alone “evil”, for fear it will affect their “neutrality”.

    It is dispicable that the sacrifices of such men as Michael Monsoor are relegated to “non-news” by the MSM. Our nation is surely the poorer for this absence, and the negligence of the media in this regard is to their eternal shame.

    Godspeed, Michael, and Well Done!

  20. 20
    clarice feldman Said:
    12:40 am 

    Kudos on the piece about you .
    And this blog is too beautiful for words.

  21. 21
    W. O'Boogie Said:
    9:11 pm 

    A superb bit of writing. I would like your permission to copy and paste to another web site – to show the bleeding hearts that we are a nation of great people who rise to the occasion. Please email me if you will allow me to do so, with full attribution to you of course.

    They may not ever get it, but I am going to keep trying.

    Thanks again for thw great words.

    W.O’B.

  22. 22
    Watcher of Weasels Trackbacked With:
    12:36 am 

    Submitted for Your Approval

    First off…  any spambots reading this should immediately go here, here, here,  and here.  Die spambots, die!  And now…  here are all the links submitted by members of the Watcher’s Council for this week’s vote. Council li…

  23. 23
    The Glittering Eye » Blog Archive » Eye on the Watcher’s Council Pinged With:
    11:21 am 

    [...] Right Wing Nut House, “No Greater Love” [...]

  24. 24
    USWarrior » Blog Archive » Clan Recruitment [Archive] - Central Outpost Forum Pinged With:
    7:59 pm 

    [...] Right Wing Nut House NO GREATER LOVEAnd he accepted the credo of the Special Forces warrior: One of the things that is not obvious at first glance is what makes a special operator and that is an absolute internal mandate to go into the [...]

  25. 25
    Watcher of Weasels Trackbacked With:
    1:56 am 

    The Council Has Spoken!

    First off…  any spambots reading this should immediately go here, here, here,  and here.  Die spambots, die!  And now…  the winning entries in the Watcher’s Council vote for this week are Trauma, Passivity, & the Fear of A…

  26. 26
    Rhymes With Right Trackbacked With:
    5:20 am 

    Watcher’s Council Results

    The winning entries in the Watcher’s Council vote for this week are Trauma, Passivity, & the Fear of Aggression by ShrinkWrapped, and Prison Jihad? by The Weekly Standard.  Here is where you can see the full results of the vote….

  27. 27
    anfiopy Said:
    5:31 am 

    Excellent site, added to favorites!!
    ...

  28. 28
    ShrinkWrapped Trackbacked With:
    9:55 am 

    The Council Has Spoken!

    This week, the winning Council post was my post on Trauma, Passivity, the Fear of Aggression. There was a four way tie for second place. Sometimes there are ties because no post is particularly outstanding; this week there was a

  29. 29
    AbbaGav Trackbacked With:
    5:15 pm 

    Another Week With the Watchers

    Can you believe another week has come and gone?  It seems like only a few days ago that I was …

  30. 30
    Right Wing Nut House » THE COUNCIL HAS SPOKEN Pinged With:
    10:28 pm 

    [...] PUNDIT VINCE AUT MORIRE VODKAPUNDIT WALLO WORLD WIDE AWAKES WIZBANG WUZZADEM ZERO POINT BLOG THE COUNCIL HAS SPOKEN IS DEFINING “VICTORY” IN IRAQ AN EXERCISE IN FUTILITY? THE RICK MORAN SHOW - LIVETO A DIFFERENT MORALITY CNN SEES NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN US AND TERRORISTS THE RICK MORAN SHOW - LIVE THE COUNCIL HAS SPOKEN ARE PRE MORTEM REYNOLDISTAS SABATOGING THE GOP? IS A REPUBLICAN COMEBACK IN THE CARDS? A REAL Admin Login Register Valid XHTML XFN Design by: Hosted by: Powered by: 10/26/2006 THE COUNCIL HAS SPOKEN CATEGORY: WATCHER’SCOUNCIL [...]

  31. 31
    The Takepride.com blog » Blog Archive » Take pride in a hero, Michael Monsoor ! Pinged With:
    12:38 pm 

    [...] ……We will never know what went through Michael Monsoor’s mind as he leapt upon that grenade. My own belief (and hope) is that Michael’s final moments seemed to him to last a lifetime, the seconds slowing to a crawl to give him the chance to reflect on how lucky he had been to have so many to speak so highly of him after he was gone, to mourn for those who would feel the pain of his loss. And I have no doubt he would have had a colorful curse or two for the enemy that had defeated him in life but that he was cheating with his own heroic death….. Read Full Article [...]

  32. 32
    Jinger Jarrett Said:
    8:45 am 

    I truly believe we are winning the war in Iraq, and that we are being lied to by the press.

    I also believe we are winning because of the extraordinary people who are over there, like Michael.

    Thank you for a truly moving story. It brought tears to my eyes. This guy is a hero.

    Sincerely,

    Jinger Jarrett

  33. 33
    The Science of Getting Rich for Christians » No Greater Love Pinged With:
    1:51 pm 

    [...] You can read it here: No Greater Love. [...]

  34. 34
    USWarrior » Blog Archive » SCI FI WIRE Pinged With:
    7:33 am 

    [...] Right Wing Nut House NO GREATER LOVEAnd he accepted the credo of the Special Forces warrior: One of the things that is not obvious at first glance is what makes a special operator and that is an absolute internal mandate to go into the [...]

  35. 35
    free music ipods Said:
    8:32 pm 

    Hi boys!23f96f2f0d879c4d2d1527a05041f7cb

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