‘Medal of Honor’ Review: Celebrating stories of unconditional sacrifice

Released on Netflix as an original documentary series on Nov. 9, “Medal of Honor” shares the inspiring stories of eight individuals who went “above and beyond the call of duty.”

The “Medal of Honor” series speak to the testament of each man who had no regard for himself, but rather gave everything to protect his fellow squad members, so that through interviews, videos, pictures and live-action scenes we might understand a little more of the harshities of war. Their experiences increase our appreciation for their service as we see their struggle through insurmountable odds and praise their commitment to protecting our country. The significance of each Medal of Honor goes beyond one man’s sacrifice and recognizes all those who fought valiantly in wars.

From army sergeants in World War II to air force chiefs in the Vietnam War, the “Medal of Honor” series covers recipients of this highest military award from various wars, backgrounds and acts of heroism. Some of these brave men died in combat, while others were severely injured yet continued fighting. Soldiers, like Vito Bertoldo were physically unqualified to fight, yet single-handedly fought off numerous enemy squads. Edward Carter in World War II and Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura in the Korean War overcame racial stigmas and faithfully defended the U.S. as their home despite discrimination.

Others tell these men’s stories, as they are too humble to speak of their own and witness reports eventually draw these warriors into the White House to receive their well-deserved award. Throughout the series, family members attest to their personalities and dedication to their service while fellow combat men and officers dictate the selfless and extraordinary actions of each of these unstoppable men. The reality of the seemingly hopeless situations take shape through the recreated scenes along with original videos or photos from the time which powerfully astonish the viewer. Especially those who have not been exposed to the realities of war can really feel the impact of each of these men in changing the course of their battles and get the opportunity to fully acknowledge their previously underrecognized service.

The ultimate courage of these military men reveals their motivation to love their fellow brothers, encourage and then finally remain behind to protect them. This deep regard for another as they were willing to die for their friends shows us the consistent outlook of each Medal of Honor recipient. With their feelings of purpose, rage and duty, each man stepped up and chose sacrifice over life beyond their required obligations. Through this series, though, we are able to see the superhuman perseverance of these men and finally begin to understand what they went through in battle.

Incredibly impactful and carefully crafted to dignify these military men, “Medal of Honor” effectively translates the horrors of war into realistic hero tales in which the audience can really understand their dedication and sacrifice. By raising awareness to the recipients, the legacy of all men and women who were lost in battle continues as a reminder that the medal does not just belong to one person whose name is on it but to all of those who fight for our country.

Witnessing these models of heroism and even the gory scenes of battle is important for all Americans to see in order to acclaim their selfless acts in pursuit of protecting others. Although approaching a sensitive topic, “Medal of Honor” respectfully shines the spotlight on these eight men to publicize their sacrifice. Therefore, I would definitely recommend taking the time to witness the struggle, exhaustion and devotion of the Medal of Honor recipients.

Edited by Siena DeBolt | sdebolt@themaneater.com

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