Yesterday, President Bush awarded him the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award, which was received by his father and mother.
What caught my attention was his profile. I am realizing that Ed Cole’s phrase of, “Being a male is a matter of birth. Being a man is a matter of choice” is so true. How do we raise up men that have character, courage and compassion that they are willing to lay down their lives for greater things?
I have mentioned that life is made up of “moments” and “decisions.” In fact, “our decisions determine our destiny.” Here is part of the New York Times article about Lt. Michael P. Murphy and some of the key moments in his life:
With the Americans suffering injuries, ammunition running low and roughly 100 Taliban fighters closing in, Lieutenant Murphy made a bold but fateful decision: He left the sheltering mountain rocks into an open area where he hoped to get a radio frequency.
He managed to make contact with Bagram Air Base, calling in his unit’s location and the size of the enemy force, even as he came under direct fire, according to a declassified Navy account of the battle.
He also was shot several times and died.
Mr. Murphy said his son’s action in battle was typical of the sort of selflessness he displayed even as a child, recalling an episode when he got into a scrap with three bullies in middle school who tried to shove a disabled student in a locker.
‘He just jumped in,’ Mr. Murphy said, noting that it was the kind of action that led him and his former wife to refer to their oldest son as ‘the Protector’ when he was a boy. ‘That was Michael’s way.’
Early in his life, Lieutenant Murphy appeared to possess the qualities that would make him the kind of candidate sought by the Seals, an elite Navy unit known for daring, physical toughness and mental acuity.
He was a member of the National Honor Society in Patchogue-Medford High School, a lifeguard and a solid athlete. He attended Pennsylvania State University, where he played hockey and graduated with two bachelor’s degrees, in political science and psychology.
His options after graduating in 1998 were wide open, and he was accepted into several law schools. He chose to join the military and train to become a Navy commando. He attended the Navy’s Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Fla., and then completed the Seals’ harsh training program and became a member of the Seals in April 2002.
It was a significant achievement for Lieutenant Murphy, who was not quite 6 feet tall, slight compared with the physically imposing members of the Seals. Each year, 50 to 200 sailors graduate from the training program. The dropout rate is 74 percent, according to the Navy.
In an interview, Daniel Murphy said that he was not surprised to learn about his son’s actions. “What Maureen and I always worried about was that he would put himself in danger to help someone else, which turned out to be true,” he said.
You can read the whole New York Times article here.
If we had more people like Michael P. Murphy, we will see the world transformed.