A Kentucky native will receive the Medal of Honor today. Two years ago in Afghanistan, then-Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer ran into a firefight to search for ambushed comrades. He later helped retrieve four of their bodies. Meyer says he felt like a failure afterward and didn’t expect to be recognized for his actions.
After his discharge last year, Meyer returned to Kentucky. He works pouring cement and is raising money for the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. He says his life has been hectic since it was announced he would receive the medal. Interviews remind him of what he calls the worst day of his life, and he hopes his life calms down after today’s ceremony.
“Why would I change? I keep getting told, ‘There’s expectations you have to live up to.’ To be quite blunt about it, the only expectation I have to live up to is to the four guys up there looking down on me,” he says. “As long as I don’t’ disrespect them I think I’m fine.”
Meyer was discharged last year and has returned to Kentucky. He is raising money for the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and plans to pursue a business degree. He doesn’t have any current plans to do more work with the Marines, but he says he’d like to.
“If I could go in there and fight, I’d be in there today. If I knew I could go back to combat, I would reenlist today,” he says.
Meyer will be the third living recipient of the medal for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. He is the first living Marine to receive the medal since the war in Vietnam.