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Friday, November 10, 2006

My Cousin, The Hero

Genealogically speaking, Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham and I may or may not have shared a Y chromosome. (Most Dunhams in the Northeast descend either from Deacon John Dunham of Plymouth, Mass., as I do, or from Jonathan Singletary alias Dunham—proven by genetic testing to be from a distinct line.) But on this Veterans Day, I'll proudly count him as a cousin.

President Bush announced on Friday that the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military decoration, will be awarded posthumously to Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham.

In April 2004, Dunham was leading a patrol in an Iraqi town near the Syrian border when the patrol stopped a convoy of cars leaving the scene of an attack on a Marine convoy, according to military and media accounts of the action.

An occupant of one of the cars attacked Dunham and the two fought hand to hand. As they fought, Dunham yelled to fellow Marines, "No, no watch his hand." The attacker then dropped a grenade and Dunham hurled himself on top of it, using his helmet to try to blunt the force of the blast.

Still, Dunham was critically wounded in the explosion and died eight days later at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland. [Link]

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