On Thursday evening, NBC Nightly News was again the first broadcast network evening newscast to highlight a Medal of Honor recipient -- only the third given for heroic action in Iraq, and the first to a sailor in that theater -- Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor. Williams observed:
This nation has a new Medal of Honor recipient, though he is not alive to accept the honor. Michael Monsoor was a U.S. Navy SEAL. He died in Ramadi in 2006 when he absorbed the blast of a grenade to save his entire unit. His commanding officer and his sister spoke today about the him and the nation's highest military honor.
Monsoor's platoon commander hailed his bravery: “He was a hero more than once and if I could cite every time he did a heroic action, he would have 35 or 50 medals to wear.”
Williams reported that on April 8 President Bush will present the medal to Monsoor's family and promised “that night on this broadcast we'll have the story his life and his heroism.” No doubt, the other networks will too that evening.
Last October, Williams and NBC were also ahead of the other networks in highlighting the previous Medal of Honor recipient. My October 16 NewsBusters item, “NBC First to Praise Medal of Honor Recipient Lt. Michael Murphy,” recounted:
The NBC Nightly News on Tuesday night became the first broadcast network evening newscast to highlight the first Medal of Honor award since Vietnam for a member of the Navy, announced last week, to Lieutenant Michael Murphy, a SEAL killed in combat in Afghanistan in June of 2005. "His story is already the stuff of legend," anchor Brian Williams related before Jim Miklaszewski recounted Murphy's heroism: How during a battle with Taliban fighters "Murphy stepped out into the line of fire to make a satellite call for help." A survivor recalled that Murphy "took two rounds to the back and dropped down on that rock and sat back up, picked the phone back up and started talking again." Standing by a memorial in Brookhaven, New York, Miklaszewski explained that in addition to the memorial, "they've named a park and post office after him. Monuments not only to what he did as a Navy SEAL, but to who he was as a man."
Miklaszewski got out of the way and allowed his story to end with two moving tributes from Murphy's parents. Dan, Michael's father, got the last word, a desire for appreciation: "While I'm crying inside and my heart's breaking, my chest is puffed out and I'm saying, my son, this is what he did and I hope the country appreciates it and realizes it."
The short segment on the Thursday, April 3 NBC Nightly News:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: This nation has a new Medal of Honor recipient, though he is not alive to accept the honor. Michael Monsoor was a U.S. Navy SEAL. He died in Ramadi in 2006 when he absorbed the blast of a grenade to save his entire unit. His commanding officer and his sister spoke today about the him and the nation's highest military honor.
SETH STONE, PLATOON COMMANDER: He was a hero more than once and if I could cite every time he did a heroic action, he would have 35 or 50 medals to wear. Absolutely.
SARA MONSOOR, SISTER: We knew that if anything were to happen, Michael would be the first to jump in and try to fix it or solve it.
WILLIAMS: An April 8th President Bush will award the Medal of Honor to Monsoor's family and that night on this broadcast we'll have the story his life and his heroism.
April 1 Washington Post article: “SEAL Killed in Iraq to Get Medal of Honor”
An Orange County Register story posted April 3 about the remarks made about Monsoor on Thursday at the U.S. Navy Liaison Office in Los Angeles. Monsoor was from Garden Grove in Orange County, California.
The U.S. Navy's page paying tribute to Monsoor.