The Congressional Gold medal is an award bestowed by Congress. One definition has read that “It is Congress’s highest expression of National appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions by individuals or institutions.”
The origin of the Congressional Gold Medal reaches back to the Revolutionary War. During that period the issuing of gold medals to military personnel started. Later on the honor of the Congressional Gold Medal itself extended to individuals from varying walks of life. The Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom are the highest civilian awards in the United States. The first recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal was George Washington.
This award has a special place in my heart because of Congressman Stephen Lynch’s, (MA-8), sponsorship of a bill that seeks to posthumously honor the four heroes of Benghazi. One of the four is my nephew, Sean Smith. Congressman Lynch’s efforts started in May of 2017. In the past five years and seven plus months, the bill has been passed back and forth, under various numbers, between the House and Senate. The Senate side of what is finally H.R. 310 was sponsored and maintained by the Office of Senator Edward Markey.
My interest and involvement in this process started in November 2018. A dear friend of mine, Lt. Col. Dennis B. Haney, USAF (Ret), had made me aware of Lynch’s bill. This was a bill seeking to honor the Benghazi Four, originally H.R. 2315, with a Congressional Gold Medal.
On a related note: Denny, as I call him, served with distinction as a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. It was a commission that produced a well-researched, concise 75-page report titled, “Betrayal in Benghazi: A Dereliction of Duty.” The citizen’s commission, through well-articulated research, painted a concise picture of Benghazi before the attacks, during the attacks, and in the aftermath of the murders. They also added an element of blame to the proceedings. They referenced this failure of the Obama Administration in their final report.
In contrast, the four hundred plus-page final report by the House Select Committee on Benghazi was rather weak, flawed and reached no conclusion. It was a rather expensive farce compared to the Citizen’s Commission On Benghazi. Both reports were released within a day of each other in June 2016.
So considering my disappointment with the process of seeking public accountability from any member of the Obama Administration about Benghazi, the concept of honoring the four heroes was infinitely more attractive.
You would think this would be a simple process, awarding a medal to four heroes. Not a Republican issue nor a Democrat issue, this is an honor issue, right? Well, nothing is simple in Washington, ever. They eat, digest and thrive on convolution.
The Bill passed the House unanimously at the close of session in December 2018, then it stalled in the Senate. It has continued to trundle on the roster of active bills. Then in July 2022, it passed the House unanimously again, now as H.R. 310. This happened partially because Congressman Brian Mast (Fl-8) and Senator Edward Markey (MA) made a Bipartisan push to get the bill passed through the Senate, where it passed, unanimously, on December 8, 2022.
The sister of Benghazi hero Glen Doherty, Kate Quigley, did the heavy lifting in her assistance to make this award happen. Ms. Quigley made the rounds in D.C. and she shook hands with various politicians. She demonstrated a level of diplomacy that has earned my admiration.
I had previously written about this process in the December 28, 2018 Politichicks article, “Congressional Gold for Benghazi Ghosts: H.R 2315, and in another on January 22, 2021, “A Failure to Honor Heroes”. These articles detailed my frustration with this lengthy process. I have to thank Kate Quigley, Congressman Stephen Lynch, Congressman Brian Mast and Senator Ed Markey and their attendant staff that helped to make this happen.
After 10 plus years since the Benghazi attacks this is a welcome point of light for the widows, children, parents, siblings, friends and other family members like myself. H.R. 310 is ultimately an honor that was signed into law by Biden on December 21, 2022. It was done with no public fanfare. Not surprising considering Biden’s involvement in the travesty that remains the history and aftermath of the Benghazi attacks.
The American Media took little notice of the signing of H.R. 310. Neither Conservative nor Liberal media covered this story with any passionate detail. Not surprising. Benghazi has become an arcane myth to the media-at-large, a myth that was (literally) made into a movie. But we need to remember that Benghazi was fought on Sovereign American soil. Real American blood was spilled. The Obama/Biden Administration failed to protect Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. They tried to make fake solemnity a new drug while blaming an inconsequential video. The blood spilled in Benghazi forever stains the Obama administration’s hands.
Now it is time to establish an atmosphere of accountability for the very real crimes, like Benghazi, that were perpetrated by the Obama/Biden Administration. Murder has no statute of limitations nor does treason. When politicians behave as criminals, breaking laws, prosecution should follow.
But the one-sided sense of justice in America remains tedious. Time for a special prosecutor to investigate any operation instituted by all administrations–both Democrat and Republican–where human life was lost due to gross negligence or vast incompetence. As our government now resembles a syndicate, perhaps we as a people need to consider instituting a form of the RICO Act against that syndicate; time to lift the torn veil of lies and deception away from the darkness perpetrated by our shadow government. I am ready for some light and some accountability in 2023. Are you?