Statue (copy)

A life-size statue of Medal of Honor recipient Marine Lance Cpl. Miguel “Mike” Keith was dedicated Sunday in the South Omaha park that bears his name. Keith died protecting members of his platoon during the Vietnam War.

The Medal of Honor is our country’s highest honor to salute valor in action against an enemy. The stories of Medal of Honor recipients involve admirable courage in the face of horrendous conditions and personal danger.

The bravery demonstrated by Marine Lance Cpl. Miguel Keith, who enlisted in 1969 before graduating from Omaha North High School, provides a notable example. Amid fierce fighting during a Viet Cong ambush in May 1970 in Vietnam’s Quang Ngãi Province, 18-year-old Keith showed immense courage.

Despite being seriously wounded, he took repeated actions to protect his platoon. He was killed after charging a group of 25 enemy soldiers, killing three.

It’s fitting that a South Omaha park was named in Keith’s honor in 1994. Last Sunday, family members, community members and public officials gathered to dedicate a life-size bronze statue of him by David Biehl, a local artist.

“To his last breath, Miguel embodied the Marine Corps motto,” said the keynote speaker, Col. David Fallon of the 9th U.S. Marine Corps District. “Your effort here in Omaha represents not just a grateful nation, but a grateful community.”

The USNS Miguel Keith, a Navy vessel currently under construction, will further honor Keith’s service.

These commemorations rightly salute an American of admirable bravery, an Omahan to be remembered and honored.

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