Private Emmanuel Mensah stood up, raised his right hand, and enlisted in the Army National Guard looking to serve his country, and his state of New York. But tragically, it was home where he paid the ultimate price.
Mensah, 28, died trying to save people from his burning apartment building last month in the Bronx, New York, in what Mayor Bill de Blasio said was the city’s deadliest fire in more than 25 years.
He had immigrated from Ghana in West Africa and was a permanent legal resident in the U.S.
His service and selfless sacrifice has taken on new meaning now that President Donald Trump’s reported comments about immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, and some African countries.
“Why do we want all these people from shithole countries coming here?” the commander in chief told lawmakers in the Oval Office, reported by several news outlets.
In a tweet Friday morning, Mr. Trump denied using that language.
Mensah went back into the burning building twice on December 28 to rescue his neighbors. He, however, didn’t make it our alive.
Army Secretary Mark Esper approved the posthumous award of The Soldier’s Medal for Pvt. Mensah—the service’s highest award for heroism occurred away from combat.
“Private 1st Class Mensah’s heroic actions are in keeping with the highest traditions of military heroism and selfless service and reflect great credit upon himself, the New York Army National Guard and the United States Army,” the award citation says.
Conservative commentator Bill Kristol tweeted Mensah’s story that went viral.
Pvt. Mensah represents the best of what America has to offer, and the least we can all do to honor his memory is to try to live up to the example he set for us all.