Father recalls son's sacrifice that led to Medal of Honor
Long before Sgt. 1st Class Jared Monti gave his life trying to save a fellow soldier in Afghanistan, he was an adventurous, big-hearted boy who looked out for his friends, Gold Star father Paul Monti told Stoughton High School students yesterday.
“Jared was a very adventurous young man. There was no tree too high, no river too wide, no hill too big for him,” said Monti, who taught school in Stoughton for 30 years and came back yesterday to instruct a new generation on the importance of Memorial Day.
He told stories of a young Jared who, when he was in high school, gave up his bed for a friend who was homeless. He told his father, “I figured he needed it more than I did.”
Jared Monti, who was 30 when he was killed in 2006, was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his repeated efforts to save a wounded soldier under heavy fire.
Tomorrow, Monti and 217 other Bay State soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen killed in action since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks will be honored with the dedication of the Massachusetts Iraq and Afghanistan Fallen Heroes Memorial. The 50-foot obelisk in the Seaport District resulted from efforts of local combat vets — mainly Hub firefighters and cops — who raised more than $1 million to build it, on a site donated by developer John Hynes.
Paul Monti spoke yesterday as part of the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes’ Patriot Week program, which is bringing Gold Star parents and combat veterans to 15 schools. Mass. Fallen Heroes volunteer Patrick Hayden, an Iraq and Afghan vet who is a 2002 Stoughton High graduate, said, “We wanted to start a program where we can spread awareness to why we are doing what we are doing, to what it means to serve and to sacrifice.”
Paul Monti urged the students to take some time during Memorial Day’s traditional barbecues to remember those who gave their lives for their country.
“Find a place to be silent,” Monti said. “Close your eyes, bow your head, and thank all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice so that you can be free.”
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