WASHINGTON - Thomas and Romayne McGinnis were physically and emotionally exhausted after three days of ceremonies surrounding the posthumous awarding of the Medal of Honor to their son Ross.
Army Pfc. Ross McGinnis, 19, died Dec. 6, 2006, when he fell on a grenade in Adhamiyah, Iraq, saving the lives of four of his comrades. For his heroics, President Bush presented the military's highest honor to his parents at a White House ceremony on Monday.
Since the beginning of World War II, only 850 Medals of Honor have been awarded and according to the medalofhonor.com, there are only 123 living recipients.
|President Bush looks on after presenting the Medal of Honor to Thomas and Romayne McGinnis, the parents of Army Pfc. Ross McGinnis, of Knox, Pa.on June 2.|
"It's been a rough week," his father said today, shortly before flying home to Knox, Pa.
"It's been very good, though," his mother said. "The Army has taken care of us, tremendously."
"Yep, they've treated us very well," his dad said. "I mean, it's spilled over from here to the White House and then the Pentagon."
The ceremonies began on Monday at the White House. The next day Pfc. McGinnis was inducted into the Pentagon Hall of Heroes. And today his headstone at Arlington National Cemetery was unveiled with Medal of Honor inscribed on it.
|VIDEO: Teen killed in Iraq awarded Medal of Honor|
After the brief Arlington ceremony, a large group of family and friends lined up to console Pfc. McGinnis' family. There were hugs, tears and occasional laughter. I asked the McGinnises, as they were leaving, what was running through their minds.
"Pride, honor," his mother Romayne said.
"Well, it's all these people here to support us," his father Thomas said. "It's really helped us so much, and there's these people and hundreds more like them that have helped us over the past 18 months to really keep going."
"And as Ross' story goes out," Romayne said, "there will be more. We gave him to the nation. We're sharing him with the nation."
"Yep, he's pretty much public property now," Thomas said.
"That's a good thing," Romayne said. "That's a good thing."
Ross McGinnis would have turned 21 years old next Saturday.