Rebecca from Squid Thoughts sends us a link to an article about Robert D. Maxwell who was finally awarded his high school diploma 67 years after he was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1944 – still inspiring yet another generation;
At 15, he wasn’t tromping down school hallways. In fact, he wasn’t in school at all. After seventh grade, Maxwell was taken out of school to work on his family’s farm in Kansas, during the Great Depression.
“It was just accepted in those days,” Maxwell said Friday. “When a boy was old enough to do a man’s work, that’s what he did.”
But don’t call him a dropout.
Maxwell’s education didn’t stop when he left school. He got his GED, even taught at Bend High back in the ’50s.
One lesson the Medal of Honor recipient continues to teach every day — modesty.
From his MOH citation;
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 7 September 1944, near Besancon, France. Technician 5th Grade Maxwell and 3 other soldiers, armed only with .45 caliber automatic pistols, defended the battalion observation post against an overwhelming onslaught by enemy infantrymen in approximately platoon strength, supported by 20mm. flak and machinegun fire, who had infiltrated through the battalion’s forward companies and were attacking the observation post with machinegun, machine pistol, and grenade fire at ranges as close as 10 yards. Despite a hail of fire from automatic weapons and grenade launchers, Technician 5th Grade Maxwell aggressively fought off advancing enemy elements and, by his calmness, tenacity, and fortitude, inspired his fellows to continue the unequal struggle. When an enemy hand grenade was thrown in the midst of his squad, Technician 5th Grade Maxwell unhesitatingly hurled himself squarely upon it, using his blanket and his unprotected body to absorb the full force of the explosion. This act of instantaneous heroism permanently maimed Technician 5th Grade Maxwell, but saved the lives of his comrades in arms and facilitated maintenance of vital military communications during the temporary withdrawal of the battalion’s forward headquarters.
From the article;
A man with heroic accomplishments, yet still so humble. It’s Maxwell’s selflessness that allows his soon-to-be fellow graduates to chase the American dream.
“They can do that, because of the things that Bob has done,” said [Principal H.D. Wedell]. “He’s laid his life down, so that our kids can be part of that.”
Category: Real Soldiers