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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Wounded Soldiers Receive Purple Hearts

Aired March 8, 2002 - 06:06   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: That Purple Heart ceremony has now begun. You're going to see U.S. Army Captain William Ryan (ph) take the podium soon to award the Purple Hearts. Let's listen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... General Paul Mikolashek, Coalition Forces Land Component Commander; Major General F.L. Hagenbeck, Commander, Coalition Joint Task Force Mountain; Brigadier General Gary Harold (ph), Deputy Commander, Coalition Joint Task Force Mountain; Brigadier General Michael Jones (ph), Deputy Commander, Coalition Joint Task Force Mountain; Brigadier General David Cratzer (ph), Commander, Coalition Joint Civil Military Operations Task Force; Command Sergeant Major Vincent Myers (ph), Command Star Major, Coalition Forces Land Component Command (ph); Command Sergeant Major Kenneth Lopez (ph), Command Sergeant Major, Coalition Joint Task Force Mountain.

At this time Chaplain Hobley (ph), the Coalition Joint Task Force Mountain Chaplain, will give the invocation.

CHAPLAIN HOBLEY (ph), COALITION JOINT TASK FORCE MOUNTAIN: Would you join me in prayer?

Heavenly Father, as we gather here today to acknowledge the heroic sacrifice of the men to be honored, I join them in praying for their colleagues in arms that were injured to the extent they could not be here. Heal them we pray oh God, and grant solace to their families. I also join them in acknowledging and thanking you for the equally brave colleagues in arms that were fortunate enough to not be wounded. They, too, are worthy heroes.

Thank you Lord for the courage you placed in these men. I ask that you would sustain it and built upon it. We acknowledge your miraculous power in sustaining their lives when death was all around. You protected them. You answered our prayers and we humbly recognize your grace. Lord, we here and now boldly ask for victory and for peace. Amen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The history of the Purple Heart goes back as far as 1782 when Sergeant Elijah Churchill, William Brown, and Daniel Bissell were awarded the Purple Heart, then called the Badge of Military Merit from General George Washington, it's designer and creator.

These men were the only known recipients of the award during the Revolutionary War. It was reestablished by the president of the United States in 1932. At present time, the Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the president of the United States to any member of the armed forces or any civilian of the United States who has been wounded or killed as a result of hostile enemy actions.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Commander of the Coalition Forces Land Component Command, Lt. Gen. Paul Mikolashek.

LT. GEN. PAUL MIKOLASHEK: Mr. Ambassador, fellow soldiers, the awardees of the Purple Heart. We should all be humbled to be in the presence of heroes today. Heroes that have earned the Purple Heart, the heroes that have earned a Purple Heart who are not with us because they have died or because they have been evacuated for their wounds or are recovering elsewhere.

These soldiers represent that kind of heroism. I think there are few words that come to mind in ceremonies such as these. Courage, heroism, determination, leadership, inspiration, and, yes, humility. And again, we all should be humbled to be in the presence of such great soldiers and the presence of you who continue this fight.

We're engaged in a tough fight. We're against a determined enemy, but we will achieve victory. Our president said that we will not falter and we will not fail and soldiers like these, soldiers like you will and are bringing justice to our enemies. It's an honor for me to be here today to recognize these soldiers as representative of those who were wounded in action or killed in action. And it's an honor for me to be able to participate in this, and I'm humbled to be in the presence of such courage and such heroism.

I wish you great success in the current endeavor and the endeavors to come. As I said, and as the president said, we will not falter. We will not fail, and we are going to bring justice to the enemies. So let's award these soldiers a Purple Heart.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The United States of America, to all who shall see these, presents greetings. This is to certify that the United States of America has awarded the Purple Heart to the following soldiers for wounds received in action on an objective Remington (ph) on the second day of March 2002.

Captain William Ryan, Alpha Company, Third Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, Ft. Campbell, Kentucky; Sergeant First Class Healy, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, First Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, Ft. Drum, New York; Sergeant James Rissler, Charlie Company, First Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, Ft. Drum, New York; Sergeant Taji Moore, Charlie Company, First Battalion 87th Infantry Regiment, Ft. Drum, New York; Sergeant David Smith, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, First Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, Ft. Drum, New York; Sergeant William Sakisat, Charlie Company, First Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, Ft. Drum, New York.

We now welcome everyone to follow Ambassador Crawford (ph) in congratulating the United States Army newest Purple Heart recipients. This concludes today's ceremony, and awardees please stand by for photos. Thank you for attending. COSTELLO: And congratulations, again, to the Purple Heart awardees, Captain William Ryan, Sergeant Robert Healy, Sergeant James Rissler, Sergeant Moore, Sergeant David Smith, Sergeant William Sakisat, all being awarded Purple Hearts for wounds they received on March 2nd.

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