Swarthmore resident and former state representative Bryan Lentz spoke with appreciation, awe and empathy of the experience of Army Specialist Felipe Pereira, who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroic actions on the battlefield in Afghanistan.
Lentz, himself a veteran who served as an Army officer in Iraq, recounted the selfless actions of Specialist Pereira, who, although wounded by a suicide bombing which killed two of his squad and wounded four others, refused medical treatment in order to evacuate fellow wounded soldiers pinned down by a subsequent ambush.
Spc. Pereira’s heroism was exceptional, but his concern for the safety of his fellow soldiers over his own is common to American servicemen and servicewomen. Thus the loss of their comrades is hardly tolerable for some, Lentz said.
“Although this is a day to remember the dead, it is also a day for the living. For those who survived war and came home, it is difficult, because they have a specific memory of the losses,” Lentz said. “Today is a particularly difficult day for Specialist Pereira and others who survived combat to come home. So today in addition to remembering the dead, I ask you also to keep in mind the living and those soldiers that lost their lives after they came home.
“There are soldiers all across the world still serving who take comfort and courage from the fact we gather here, and that people gather all across the country. It is a signal and a promise that their sacrifice and the sacrifice of their dear friends will never be forgotten.”