The Congressional Medal of Honor

JohnBaca-StanStilesOne of the absolutely most memorable moments in my lifeoccurred during the National Corvette Caravan. I’ like to share it with you.

Some of you know I am a Vietnam Veteran, but only one of the many Veterans in our club. Like most of the others, some of my memories of that time of my life were actually fun and enjoyable. Unfortunately, most of those memories, some of which still haunt me and many others, were just horrific.

I say this only as an introduction to my “happening.”

While at a rest stop somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, another of our fellow caravaners, Ann Elegant from Salem, and I were walking toward the restrooms and chatting. Since I had just really met Ann and her husband John a few days prior, I asked what she had done prior to retiring. She told me she had worked a great deal with women sufferers of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Since I have been diagnosed with PTSD for quite a long time by the VA, I was very interested.

On our way back toward the parking area, Ann first noticed a van with the marking “Veterans for America”, on the side, and pointed it out to me. I walked over to one of men near the van and asked what they were doing. He said they were on a trip trying to get the word out about the organization, and were doing so to ultimately aid Vietnam Veterans when they could.

After talking a bit, the guy asked me to follow him because he had someone he’d like me to meet. What happened next was just one ot the proudest, and humblest, moments in my life. He introduced me to a fairly small fellow, in stature, who introduced himself as John Baca, a fellow Vietnam Vet. John held in his hands THE CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR that had been awarded to him! We talked a couple of minutes, then I realized I wanted, no…had, to share this moment with the others. I gathered the group around and introduced John to them then asked him to show his medal.

While it wasn’t a very long “moment” I did get my picture taken with one of the men who really are the bravest of the brave. I asked him away from the others what he’d done to win his medal. He simply said he did what he hoped anyone else would have done in the same situation, then told me he hadn’t WON the medal (he did joke that it hadn’t really been a contest), it just happened.

We then shook hands and hugged each other, then it was over.

Thanks for allowing me to share this with you.

Stan Stiles

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