Leroy Petry, left, speaks with fellow Medal of Honor recipient Brian Thacker during the Legion's Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball. (Photo by Craig Roberts)

Medal of Honor recipients share lasting bond

Humble is a good way to describe the Medal of Honor recipients during The American Legion Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball on Jan. 21. But beyond humble, there is a deep admiration among the recipients toward each other — and an admiration for those currently serving in the military.

The following are some examples of that admiration.

Jack Jacobs (received medal for actions in Vietnam), on his fellow recipients – "I never ceased to be amazed … by what (his fellow recipients) they’ve done, what they represent and how they’ve behaved themselves for the past four decades. When an event like this ends, I don’t want to leave them."

Gordon Roberts (received medal for actions in Vietnam), on the awe he feels toward other recipients – "For 40 years, I’ve felt like a mascot for this group. I’ve always sort of idolized the rest of these guys."

Leroy Petry (received medal for actions in Afghanistan), on becoming a member of the Medal of Honor group – "They welcomed me in like family, and that’s what they’ve become to me: another family. Obviously they were part of my big family, being servicemembers themselves. They were heroes of mine growing (and) are still heroes of mine today. It’s like being with my other fellow brothers-in-arms."

Petry, on the lasting bond Medal of Honor recipients have – "With the military, you usually don’t see each other for the rest of your lives. With these other recipients and other events, we’ll see each other. We’ll see our children grow. We’ll become that family that stays together for life."

Harold Fritz (received medal for actions in Vietnam), on remembering those serving now – "We sometimes disregard the dedication and sacrifice of those that are out there right now. It’s important to understand that while we’re here, we’ve got military people in Afghanistan and other places around the world in harm’s way."