Saturday at 7 PM Eastern Time, the History Channel (as well as History Channel en Español) will be premiering a documentary on Sgt. Rafael Peralta, a hero of the Battle of Fallujah in 2004. Sgt. Peralta gave his life in the noblest fashion imaginable: sacrificing himself to save his fellow Soldiers. I learned of the program and more about Sgt. Peralta from the Hispanic media blog Clemenseando, from which the following information comes.
Entering a house in Fallujah as the first Soldier of his platoon, Sgt. Peralta was immediately shot and wounded. As his comrades followed, a grenade was tossed. Despite being wounded, Sgt. Peralta grabbed the grenade and put it under his body, allowing it to explode without seriously harming the others, but paying the ultimate price.
I find it hard to even think about Sgt. Peralta without tears coming to my eyes, and expect that when I watch the documentary tomorrow I may need a box of tissues. For this heroism Sgt. Peralta clearly deserves the Medal of Honor, which has been awarded to others who have smothered grenades with their bodies to save their comrades. That would certainly be a fitting tribute.
It may be worthwhile knowing that Sgt. Peralta was born in Mexico and entered the United States illegally. After being told that he would need to legalize his status to join the Marines, he managed to obtain a Green Card and enlist. His younger brother Ricardo, is planning to join the Marines, too. Toward the end of the documentary, Ricardo reads from the last letter his big brother sent from Iraq:
"I am proud to be a Marine, a U.S. Marine. And to defend and protect the freedom and Constitution of America....
"If anything happens to me just remember I already lived my life to the fullest and I am happy with what I lived ... Don't feel sad. Don't feel lonely."
To say that Sgt. Peralta stands a shining example for all Americans and those who aspire to be Americans is an understatement.