Stories of American Heroes - Brought to you from the "Home of Heroes" - Pueblo, Colorado
September 21, 2001
The Pueblo Chieftain Online
Heroes Web site features Medal recipients' reactions
By DENNIS DARROW
The Pueblo Chieftain
The most decorated war heroes of our time are starting to share their feelings in the wake of last week's terrorist strike on the United States.
Their reactions range from calls for unity to one hero's criticism that the United States for too long "sat on its butt and allowed these evil monsters to inspire horror and disgust upon the free world."
At the Home of Heroes Web site in Pueblo - www.homeofheroes.com - recipients of the Medal of Honor are starting to submit written reaction to America's new war.
Barney Barnum of Reston, Va., president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, issued a lengthy response, calling for Americans to begin rallying around the troops.
"Throughout the coming days, weeks and months ahead, I encourage every citizen to keep the fine young men and women serving in the uniform today in your thoughts and prayers.
"We are united, we've rallied around Old Glory and we will be successful in searching out and destroying the enemy," Barnum said.
Ernest Childers of Broken Arrow, Okla., a Native American recipient of the Medal for World War II heroism, called for ethnic tolerance at home.
"If you are angry, then channel that anger by volunteering or contributing, not by overreacting. If you hurt another American, than you are no better than those terrorists," Childers said.
Nick Bacon of Rosebud, Ark., honored for his heroism during the Vietnam War, voiced confidence in America's resolve but also acknowledged frustration at the nation's relative inaction before the attacks.
Indifference "allowed these evil monsters to inspire horror," Bacon said.
". . . If we had done what was right, we would have already destroyed bin Laden, the Taliban and the pathetic leaders of other well-known terrorist groups causing harm to the world."
Doug Sterner, a co-founder of the Home of Heroes campaign in Pueblo and operator of the Web site, said the first response to the "America's Heroes Speak Out" section arrived late last week.
Since the terrorist strikes, traffic on the Web site - among the most exhaustive for patriotic education, war history and heroism - has tripled to roughly 150,000 hits a day, Sterner said.
"That tells me one thing: In a time like this, people are looking to heroes of past wars for words of advice and encouragement," Sterner said.
Pueblo is the hometown of four Medal recipients, two of whom - Jerry Murphy and Drew Dix - are still living. Last week, both issued statements extending sympathies to the victims of the terrorist acts.
Nicknamed the Home of Heroes, the city last year hosted the national Congressional Medal of Honor Society convention. It also hosts periodic events honoring heroes from all walks of life.
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