North Dakota Medal of Honor recipient declines State of Union invite

The Minot man presented Monday with the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama made the unusual decision to decline the invitation of the first lady to sit beside her during the president’s State of the Union address Tuesday night in Washington.

According to Capt. Dan Murphy of the North Dakota National Guard, who accompanied former Staff Sgt. Clint Romesha to Washington this week, the quiet hero gave up his box seat to history for reasons similar to why he quit the Army after nearly 12 years: his family and friends.

Tuesday was the 13th wedding anniversary of Romesha and his high school sweetheart, Tammy, who made the trip with him to Washington. She and their three children are the reason he left the Army in 2010, he said last month.

Romesha was honored Monday with the nation’s top military medal for valor for his leadership in an all-day battle in 2009 at a remote outpost in northeast Afghanistan. He clearly doesn’t enjoy the spotlight and says the Medal bestowed on him is about the soldiers he served with, eight of whom died that day.

“It’s such a great honor to be invited to the State of the Union,” Romesha, 31, told CNN. “I really feel bad about not being able to go. But a lot of these guys I haven’t seen a really long time and I’d like to hang with them just a little bit more.”

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Proof

    He chose not to be a political stage prop for Obi Won. Good for him!