Colorado

Oct 9, 2009 8:47 PM by Matt Stafford

Better Late Than Never

"The Purple Heart is good, but we should go beyond that," says Congressman Doug Lamborn of Colorado’s 5th Congressional District.

 

Now it’s all the way to the Silver Star.  It’s the military's third highest award and today it decorates the chest of one of Colorado's bravest.

 

Retired Naval Captain Mike McGrath, now of Monument, received the award nearly 35 years after the end of the Vietnam War.

 

McGrath spent almost six years as a prisoner of war in the famous "Hanoi Hilton."  One requirement for the award recipient is to have suffered torture from their captors.

 

"It's amazing, all these years he (McGrath) hasn't been recognized with the Silver Star.  Somebody just didn't write him up right.  It's good to see it," says friend and fellow former prisoner of war, retired Air Force Colonel William Baugh.

 

Today the record is finally straight.

 

"My plan for my star is to take it off, put it in its case, put it up on the shelf and then press on with my life and get back out of the golf course,” Retired Naval Captain Mike McGrath says.  “The star won't get me any extra strokes with my friends."

 

It will be a remembrance of his service, and maybe a reminder that young men and women are serving in harms way today.

 

"They're just younger than me, but they have the same dedication to their country,” says McGrath.  “I just hope my example is a good example for them to do your best."

 

Congressman Lamborn held the pinning ceremony in his Colorado Springs office.

 

Lamborn says, "As long as we have people like him who are the home of the brave, we'll continue to be the land of the free."

 

That's a description McGrath and his friends are happy to have protected.

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