I have been out of high school for 61 years. When that chapter is more than a half century behind you, you don’t expect to be seeing news about one of the kids from high school but the other day I just did.
Last week the Houston Chronicle ran a wonderful story about David McNerney, like me, a member of the St. Thomas High School Class of 1949. Back then, he was quiet, almost shy, and liked by everyone. The story in the Chronicle was about the fact that back in March of 1967, during the Vietnam War, McNerney’s A Company was ambushed by the Vietcong. The officers were the first to die leaving David, a staff sergeant, in charge. The radios were damaged. They were cut off and encircled by a more powerful group. McNerney was wounded early on but refused evacuation. He continued to work the line directing his men. They held out but thirty-three would die. For this he was awarded the Cox Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest award.
Sergeant McNerney is now in the last stages of lung cancer and his “boys,” as he called them, wanted to do something special for him. He asked that they convene at the Vietnamese Veterans Memorial and lay a wreath at panel 16E where the majority of those 33 soldiers names were engraved. For the 50 survivors it will be a time to say thank you to a tough sergeant who made the difference in their lives.
Bullets may not be flying but we all are challenged to stand up from time to time. Let’s pray that we have half the courage that David did.