ARLINGTON, Va. (WRBL) — A day before he was to receive the nation’s highest military honor, retired Army Col. Ralph Puckett used the intense spotlight to call for national unity.
It wasn’t political, as much as it was an old battle-tested soldier offering his worldview in the shawdow of Washington D.C. and a deep divide.
“While we have many enemies of this country today who want to see us fall, there’s no greater enemy than ourselves,” the 94-year-old Puckett said during his opening statement to the Pentagon press corps. “We have divided ourselves into tribes and closed our ears to all who would not think we would do what we needed to do.”
When President Joe Biden puts the Medal of Honor around Puckett’s neck Friday afternoon at the White House, the Korean and Vietnam War veteran will become one of the most decorated soldiers in the nation’s history. He earned Distinguished Service Crosses in both Korea and Vietnam.
The Medal of Honor will be an upgrade of the Korean Distinguished Service Cross for his actions in November 1950 fighting back a counter attack from the Chinese Army behind enemy lines.
He says the United States faces another enemy.
“Our enemies outside our country are aiding and abetting the dissension within our ranks,” he said. “They are watching with satisfaction as they see us destroy ourselves.”
He pointed to his hero George Washington, a general turned stateman in the infancy of the nation.
“For more than 200 years citizen soldiers have volunteered and fought and died to protect that freedom and maintain it for us,” Puckett said.
And the nation has survived because of those willing to pay the ultimate price for freedom.
“We have survived by luck,” Puckett said. “We have survived by good fortune. We survived because the good Lord gave us that privilege. And we survived because some great men gave everything.”