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September 28, 2000
by Dave Clark, correspondent
How do you preserve the memory of military heroes in a culture that's losing its sense of history? One man has taken to the Internet in his attempt.
Since World War I, less than 1,000 Americans have been awarded the Medal of Honor for military valor. Today, fewer than 150 survive.
"If we don't understand our history, we have no concept of where we're going," said Doug Sterner, whose dream is to keep their memory alive.
Sterner wants kids to learn that real heroes are not rock stars or million-dollar athletes, "but someone who is a hero because they put other people first; they believed in something strong enough to risk their life."
So impressed is he by American heroes and their stories, that Sterner hopes one day to build a museum in tribute to them. For now, his Home of Heroes is on the Internet.
"In two years, I've written 12,000 HTML pages," he said.
Alfred Rascon is one hero whose courage and convictions are chronicled on-line. He risked his life in Vietnam, suffering injury while rescuing three wounded comrades.
"What we have in this country was given, literally, by the lives of hundreds of people, thousands of people," Rascon said. "And it's up to young men and women to understand that freedom is not free."
But Sterner fears kids today aren't getting that message.
"We as adults have lost our sense of passing on history to our kids," he said.
Sterner is in the process of cataloguing the names and stories of all Medal of Honor recipients. The site's third floor also contains a chapel, because Sterner says he does not believe American history can be taught apart from a belief in God.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: To see Sterner's Web site, go to www.homeofheroes.com.
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