RAYNHAM, Mass. A new memorial stands outside American Legion Post 405 in Raynham, honoring Sgt. Jared Monti, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2006.
Serving with the 10th Mountain Division, Sgt. Monti died trying to rescue a soldier from his patrol who had been wounded during an ambush. He tried three times to scramble from behind the cover of rocks to reach Brian Bradbury. On the third time Monti was mortally wounded. Bradbury also died but for that act of trying to save him, Sgt. Monti was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2009.
Hundreds attended the unveiling of the monument Sunday, including veterans who served with Monti in Afghanistan and soldiers who served in Iraq, the Vietnam War and World War II. They were part of a ceremony that was repeated in a way all across the country in small towns and big cities that have sent their sons and daughters to war.
Jared’s father Paul, who has been tireless in his efforts to honor and remember his son and all the nation’s vets, said Jared would be embarrassed by all the attention he has gotten since he was killed in Afghanistan more than six years ago.
“He wouldn’t want any of this,” Monti said. “This was the kind of thing where if he got his leave, he gave it away to somebody. ‘Don’t put that monument for me. Don’t give me that Medal of Honor. Give it to all the guys I served with. Build a monument to the guys that I served with.'”
It was a honor to spend part of Veterans Day Sunday with vets from Iraq and Afghanistan, and also the Vietnam War and World War II. The U.S. has been at war since 2001 and such a small percentage of the population has been touched by the cost of that.
This summer I met a young man named Matt Victoriano, who led a Marine sniper unit in Afghanistan. Victoriano is trying to start a micro-brewery, but the financing is tough. I asked him via email to express what Veterans Day means to him.
“How about this Veterans Day, instead of thanking a veteran for their service, learn about the pain and sacrifice that their spouses, siblings, parents, and teammates are willing to endure in order to help them,” Victoriano replied. “It’s a love that most of us don’t understand, but it is the most powerful force in the world. I may have endured a lot as a Marine Scout/Sniper, but it pales in comparison to what my wife has endured sticking by my side and helping me become a better person.”
On Sunday, Paul Monti said when his late son Jared was around four years old, they gave him some Hot Wheels for Christmas. And when Paul came home, there was Jared out in the driveway with pieces of plywood, jumping those Hot Wheels into the air and yelling with excitement. Lot of us have stories like that about our kids, but the vast majority of us don’t have a story that ends like Jared Monti’s.