Does Clarence Sasser have anything to teach Minnesota school kids?
The Minnesota House of Representatives thinks he does.
Sasser, a medic drafted into service in Vietnam, is one of the lesson plans created by the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation to try to teach kids that, perhaps, there are lessons from Medal of Honor recipients that kids need to hear.
Medal of Honor Vietnam
January 10, 1968
The House voted 129-3 to pass a bill that encourages schools that voluntarily provide character development education to include Congressional Medal of Honor history and values in the curriculum.
Here’s a suggested lesson plan based on Mr. Sasser.
Rep. Bob Detter, R-Forest Lake, said the program is being used in Robbinsdale and Columbia Heights school districts, and 59 districts have participated in training, according to Session Daily.
Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-St. Paul), Rep. Kim Norton (DFL-Rochester), and Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester) voted against the measure.
Should people be worried it could be a recruiting tool in disguise, similar to the marketing employed by area sports teams? Maybe.
On the other hand, keep in mind the lesson from Medal of Honor recipient Sal Giunta from his 2014 visit to Eagan.
“War is awful. War is terrible,” he said. “It’s disgusting, and gross, and brutal, and it should always be the last resort, and yet we’ve been doing it for 14 years.”
The foundation says the concepts of the lessons are courage, commitment, sacrifice, integrity, citizenship, and patriotism.
That last one is the most difficult to define since the country struggles constantly to define what it means to be patriotic, a debate that often splits along political affiliations.
They don’t give Medals of Honor to people who protest wars.
by Bob Collins Minnesota Public Radio
Reprinted with permission. The original broadcast was aired on May 4, 2016, Minnesota Public Radio
Medal of Honor Citation Clarence Sasser
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp5c. Sasser distinguished himself while assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3d Battalion. He was serving as a medical aidman with Company A, 3d Battalion, on a reconnaissance in force operation. His company was making an air assault when suddenly it was taken under heavy small arms, recoilless rifle, machinegun and rocket fire from well fortified enemy positions on 3 sides of the landing zone. During the first few minutes, over 30 casualties were sustained. Without hesitation, Sp5c. Sasser ran across an open rice paddy through a hail of fire to assist the wounded. After helping 1 man to safety, was painfully wounded in the left shoulder by fragments of an exploding rocket. Refusing medical attention, he ran through a barrage of rocket and automatic weapons fire to aid casualties of the initial attack and, after giving them urgently needed treatment, continued to search for other wounded. Despite two additional wounds immobilizing his legs he dragged himself through the mud toward another soldier 100 meters away. Although in agonizing pain and faint from loss of blood, Sp5c. Sasser reached the man, treated him, and proceeded on to encourage another group of soldiers to crawl 200 meters to relative safety. There he attended their wounds for 5 hours until they were evacuated. Sp5c. Sasser’s extraordinary heroism is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.