Remembering Our Heroes

September 20, 2011
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It’s was just a few days ago that we all paused to remember. We paused to remember those that died. We paused to remember how our world was changed. And, for those of us that are old enough, we paused to remember “where we were” on that fateful day.

There were many heroes on that day – and the many war-laden days that followed. For them, I, personally, am eternally grateful.

In the spirit of my mantra, I also want to honor the four-legged heroes. Those dogs that have, or are currently serving in war right now. Dogs whose stories about bravery and rescue efforts can move even the hardest of hearts.

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Recently, I ran across the story of Mira. As the TV station WSBT in South Bend, Indiana, reported, Mira was a war hero, a Purple Heart recipient and most importantly – man’s best friend.

Interestingly enough, Mira is the first dog to be made a member of the VFW in the state of Indiana, and only the second dog in the state to be made a member of the American Legion. Mira was the first military funeral in Indiana for a dog that served in combat.

Ceremoniously, her ashes have been placed in front of the VFW post in Knox, Indiana. She was honored as a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan with full military honors in a service a few weeks ago with a 21-gun salute sounded followed by Taps as her final salute.

“I think about her every day,” said Neil Burg, commander of the American Legion in Hamlet.

As WSBT reported, Mira spent half her life as a bomb-sniffing dog in Iraq and Afghanistan before she retired in Hamlet. A Purple Heart recipient, Mira spent six years in combat and was wounded three separate times. She has a military record that shows numerous acts of heroism, including alerting a group of Marines to a bomb, allowing all five of them to get to safety before it exploded.

“Five men or women get to go home and spend time with their families because they’re alive, thanks to Mira,” Burg said.

But it was in Hamlet, Indiana where she was able to be a dog. She was adopted by Donald Thomas only a few years ago.

“She was an excellent dog, I couldn’t have chosen a better one,” Thomas said.

It was in Starke County where she was treated by Thomas and others like a veteran and hero and where she was laid to rest as one.

“I know she’s going to be missed. She’ll be missed for a good many years by the VFW, the American Legion and the people who knew her and worked with her,” Thomas said.

Mira was 12 years old. Thomas said she died from lung cancer.

Yes, the heroes come in many shapes and sizes. And sometimes with four-legs.

Rest in peace, Mira.

Rest in peace, all of our heroes.

To see the moving TV coverage of this story, visit http://www.southbendtribune.com/wsbt-veteran-dog-gets-full-military-funeral-20110813,0,6785824.story

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