The United States did not become the world's hub of freedom and prosperity because past Americans sought free health care, food and passive government incomes at the expense of future generations. America became the envy of the world because of collective character. Past generations asked what they could do for their country, even giving their lives so future Americans could enjoy freedom and comfort.
None symbolizes that selflessness more than the late Army Pfc. Floyd K. Lindstrom, a World War II Medal of Honor recipient from the Pikes Peak region.
Few have heard of Lindstrom, but that's about to change. The new Veterans Affairs clinic, under construction on West Fillmore Street, will bear his name.
The Lindstrom clinic will commemorate a strong individual who represents the traditional spirit of our culture. He spent his youth, in the early 20th century, at the Myron Stratton Home - a Colorado Springs charity that sheltered the homeless and poor. Leaving the home in 1931, Lindstrom worked his way to independence as a drug store soda jerk and later as a truck driver for 11 years. From abject poverty, Lindstrom rose to produce more than he consumed.
Lindstrom then set out to repay his country for affording him the opportunity to work and succeed. He joined the Army a day after he turned 30 and was deployed to Italy to fight in World War II. On Nov. 11, 1943, he and other American troops were pinned down by hostile gunfire. Lindstrom grabbed his 45-caliber handgun and took care of business. Here's what the citation for his Medal of Honor explains:
"Realizing that he could not hit the hostile gunners because they were behind a large rock, he charged uphill under a steady stream of fire, killed both gunners with his pistol and dragged their gun down to his own men, directing them to employ it against the enemy."
He survived and saved the lives of others. As a result, the Army offered him lighter, less hazardous duty while his Medal of Honor nomination was scrutinized. Lindstrom said no thanks. He would continue fighting for his country, alongside his comrades, declining the option to remain safe to enjoy a life of glory of fame.
Lindstrom's country-before-self mentality soon cost him his life. He was felled in Anzio, Italy, before his Medal of Honor nomination had been vetted. The award was given posthumously. Lindstrom, who never had the opportunity to wed and settle down, has mostly been forgotten by society - even in Colorado Springs.
Reminded of what Lindstrom did for us all, we value his decisions. That's why the new veterans clinic will honor his name.
We continue to see courageous Americans sacrifice their lives for the benefit of strangers. Yet, modern culture accepts pursuits of dependence on future generations as if they are normal. Government advertises free food and promises free medicine, much of it paid for with long-term debt. Millions of Americans want to know what the country can do for them, a mentality that would baffle the likes of Pfc. Lindstrom and his modern counterparts.
Upon hearing Lindstrom's name, let's ask what we can do for our country. How might we make it more free, safe and affluent for generations to come.