There’s been so much about how Abu Ghraib is Us (see Susan Sontag’s annoying piece in Sunday’s New York Times magazine for a statement of this in its purest form) that I wanted to post some excerpts from a Wall Street Journal piece yesterday on a heroic US soldier who gave his life to save his comrades.

It presents a face of the American soldier in Iraq that is just as representative of this country’s values as the far more famous one of Pfc. Lynndie England of Abu Ghraib notoriety.

You won’t be able to get the piece online unless you subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, but it’s still worth quoting from the piece on Cpl. Jason Dunham.
Cpl. Dunham’s comrades in arms believe that he sacrificed his life to save theirs by covering a grenade with his helmet and falling on top of it. There had been a debate among the soldiers a few days earlier as to whether a helmet could be effective in containing a grenade.

Dunham’s fellow Marines believe that he “made an instantaneous decision” to throw himself on the grenade to blunt the blast. Before he died in the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., on April 22, a Purple Heart was pinned to his pillow.

Dunham sounds like such a great young man. He once bought a 550-minute calling card and gave it to a homesick fellow Marine to call his wife.

Cpl. Dunham had told his friends he planned to extend his enlistment. “I want to make sure everyone makes it home alive,” he said. “I want to make sure you go home to your wife alive.”

His mother recalled that he never hung up the phone without saying, “I love you.”
Cpl. Dunham has been nominated for the Medal of Honor, an award that has not been won since 1993.