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Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer’s emotional realization at Parris Island

Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Dakota Meyer speaks with Marines over breakfast at Parris Island, S.C., on Saturday. (Photo by Cpl. Caitlin Brink/ Marine Corps)
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Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer braved enemy fire repeatedly on Sept. 8, 2009, in a desperate attempt to find the members of his embedded training team who had gone missing in a bloody firefight in Afghanistan. He eventually found them dead in a mountainside trench — a memory that he has struggled with ever since, he says.

Meyer, 26, received the Medal of Honor two years later for his heroism that day. But coping with the legacy of that firefight in the village of Ganjgal got a little easier on Saturday. While speaking to Marines at the recruit depot at Parris Island, S.C., one of them surprised Meyer by introducing his little girl.

He shared the experience on his Facebook page on Sunday in a post that went viral:

“I was getting ready to speak to a group of Marines when I noticed a cute little girl walk in with an adult, a Marine dressed in civilian attire. They walked to the back of the room and sat down quietly; I didn’t give it much of a thought. I finished speaking and asked if anyone had any questions, it was the usual type stuff and things were going along like they normally do. It seemed as if we were about finished up so I asked if anyone else had any final questions.
“The Marine in civilian clothing with the little girl stood up. He said, ‘I want to start by telling you thank for what you’ve done for the country.’ Then with a long pause he said, ‘I came here today’ as he picked up his little girl and continued, “to tell you thank you for what you did on Sept, 8 2009. While you and your teammates were fighting on that day my daughter was born in a free country and I just wanted to show you that your sacrifices weren’t for nothing’. As I listened to what he said I began to tear up and his words instantly silenced all the questions in my head. In that moment so many things made sense. I couldn’t express to him how much that meant to me, it’s a moment that I am sure will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

Meyer added that it was a “defining moment” for him, and answered the question whether everything that transpired that day was worth it. He followed by posting a photo of himself with the 5-year-old girl and her father: