Gary B. Beikirch, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor, Vietnam

“I would like to share with you two of the most significant experiences in my life. My experiences in Vietnam taught me many life-changing lessons: How precious life is . . . how frightening death is . . . and how important God is to both life and death. After being med-evaced from Vietnam, wounded three times, and spending almost a year in the hospital, I was left with questions that I could not answer, an anger I could not control, and a guilt that almost destroyed me. What I needed was my second experience.
“Two years after leaving Vietnam, a friend shared with me a simple but powerful message: God loved me . . . . He had forgiven me because His Son, Jesus Christ, died for me, and He wanted His Spirit to become the center of my life. God’s allowing me to wear the Medal of Honor was only to open doors so I could share His love (Jer. 9:23-24, Ps. 49:20). Although this is not Scripture, the following quote had an immediate impact on me as soon as I read it. I first saw it in a Mike Force team house in Pleiku. ‘To really live you must almost die. To those who fight for it . . . life has a meaning . . . the protected will never know!’”