Two years ago on Memorial Day, Nashville songwriter Connie Harrington was driving in her car, listening to a story on the public radio program Here & Now. And she heard — a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan.Now, for the rest of the story.
"He mentioned that he drove his son's truck," Harrington says. "And he went on to describe the truck."
... In the radio broadcast, his father, Paul, said his reasons for driving the truck Jared left behind were simple: "What can I tell you? It's him. It's got his DNA all over it. I love driving it because it reminds me of him, though I don't need the truck to remind me of him. I think about him every hour of every day."
Harrington was moved by what she heard and scribbled down everything she could remember, all while fighting tears. A few days later, Harrington started turning those thoughts into a song, with two co-writers. Singer Lee Brice recorded "I Drive Your Truck," and last month, it vaulted to No. 1 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart.
One of the most remarkable things about Jared isn't even in the song. The sergeant was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for trying to rescue a badly wounded comrade in Afghanistan in 2006. His patrol had come under a fierce attack, and Jared ran out three times into a wall of bullets and grenades. On his last attempt to save the private, he was killed.
"That's something I have to live with every day. ... [He] never gave up on anything, no matter what it was," Paul says of his son.
"Your child is your future, and when you've lost your child, you've lost your future. And I think one of the reasons so many Gold Star parents drive their children's trucks is 'cuz they have to hold on. They just have to hold on."
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.
Sergeant First Class Monti distinguished himself at the cost of his life while serving as a team leader with the Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3d Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on 21 June 2006. On that day, Sergeant First Class Monti was leading a mission to gather intelligence and to direct fires against the enemy in support of a squadron-size interdiction mission. While at an observation position on top of a mountain ridge, Sergeant First Class Monti’s sixteen-man patrol came under attack by a superior force consisting of as many as 50 enemy fighters. On the verge of being overrun, Sergeant First Class Monti directed his patrol to set up a hasty defensive position behind a collection of rocks. He then began to call for indirect fire from a nearby support base; accurately bringing the rounds upon the enemy who had closed to within 50 meters of his position. While still calling for fire, Sergeant First Class Monti personally engaged the enemy with his rifle and a grenade, successfully disrupting an attempt to flank the patrol. Sergeant First Class Monti then realized that one of his Soldiers was lying wounded and exposed in the open ground between the advancing enemy and the patrol’s position. With complete disregard for his own safety, Sergeant First Class Monti moved from behind the cover of the rocks into the face of withering enemy fire. After closing within meters of his wounded Soldier, the heavy volume of fire forced Sergeant First Class Monti to seek cover. Sergeant First Class Monti then gathered himself and rose again to maneuver through a barrage of enemy fire to save his wounded Soldier. Again, Sergeant First Class Monti was driven back by relentless enemy fire. Unwilling to leave his Soldier wounded and exposed, Sergeant First Class Monti made another attempt to move across open terrain and through the enemy fire to the aide of his wounded Soldier. On his third attempt, Sergeant First Class Monti was mortally wounded, sacrificing his own life in an effort to save his Soldier. Sergeant First Class Monti’s acts of heroism inspired the patrol to fight off the larger enemy force. Sergeant First Class Monti’s immeasurable courage and uncommon valor were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, 3d Squadron 71st Cavalry Regiment, the 3d Brigade Combat Team, the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), and the United States Army.
Hat tip RA.