Perhaps you caught this man’s story blasted all over the news yesterday, but perhaps you don’t know just how amazing this young man is. This is my good friend Corporal William Kyle Carpenter. He is 24, in a fraternity, continually puts up with me, and is the youngest person ever to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. He is now a retired United States Marine, but in November 21, 2010 he did something that has forever changed his life.
While fighting off a Taliban attack in Marjah, Afghanistan, Kyle selflessly jumped on top of a grenade to protect his best friend from the blast. His body took a toll. He flatlined three times on the operating table, had a collapsed lung, broke his arm in more than 30 places, had almost 40 surgeries, and lost his right eye, parts of his right jaw, and majority of his right teeth. Despite his injuries, Kyle was Kyle and kept bouncing back.
In the hospital, no one ever thought he would skydive or attend college or run marathons or become an inspirational speaker; but he did. Although he has no memory of his heroic action and is the most humble, down-to-earth, and just plain coolest person I have ever met, he is entirely deserving of the most prestigious award our nation can bestow upon him.
As an enormous amount of press and media attention is currently going to the latest Kardashian wedding and the most recent celebrity couple to file for divorce, it has been a breath of fresh air to see Kyle receive the recognition and attention he deserves. He has inspired me to live my life to the fullest and never hold back. And I hope his story gives you that breath of fresh air as he displays what a true American hero and icon is. Our nation thanks you Kyle.
"With that singular act of courage, Kyle, you not only saved your brother in arms, you displayed a heroism in the blink of an eye that will inspire for generations — valor worthy of our nation’s highest military decoration." -President Barack Obama