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Tuesday, April 5, 2005; Page C13

A Medal for Dad

• Eleven-year-old David Smith yesterday got to meet President Bush, who gave him the nation's most important military medal.

But the Florida boy would have preferred to be playing ball with his dad than visiting the White House. Two years ago yesterday, David's dad, Sgt. Paul Ray Smith, was killed in Iraq. His unit came under attack but he fought on, allowing at least 100 American soldiers to escape. His act was so courageous that President Bush awarded him the Medal of Honor. He is the first person given the honor since 1993.

David Smith, 11, with his sister and mother, accepts his father's Medal of Honor from President Bush. Sgt. Paul Ray Smith was killed in Iraq two years ago. (Gerald Herbert -- AP)

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David came to Washington with his sister, Jessica, 18, and his mother. "It's like my best friend is gone now. . . . I would rather have him back than have the Medal of Honor," David said before the ceremony.

Nationals Lose Opener

• After more than 30 years, a Washington baseball team played a real game yesterday. That was the good news. The Washington Nationals lost the game to the Philadelphia Phillies, 8-4. The Nationals will play their first regular season home game on April 14.

The Orioles, meanwhile, defeated the Oakland Athletics, 4-0, in Baltimore.

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