10:14, 04.Aug 2016
A memorial has been held for the Ghanaian-born soldier, Emmanuel Mensah, who died in December 2017, trying to rescue people from a burning apartment in Bronx, New York in the United States of America (USA).
The solemn event which was held at the premises of the US Embassy in Accra on Tuesday was attended by the Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Obed Boamah Akwa, the Defence Minister, Mr Dominic Nitiwul, the Interior Minister, Mr Ambrose Dery, the US Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Robert P. Jackson, family and friends of the fallen hero and officials from the embassy.
Who is Emmanuel Mensah?
Private First Class (PFC) Emmanuel Mensah, 28 migrated to the USA five years ago to join his father, and later enlisted in the New York State Army National Guard, after completing basic and advanced training in 2017.
On December 28, 2017, the apartment building, where he lived caught, fire but he safely fled to the street.
However, on realising that his neighbours were caught up in the blazing fire, he went to their rescue four times into the building to bring them to safety, but unfortunately died on his fourth attempt.
He was among 12 people killed in the blaze that consumed the apartment building, an incident which has been described as New York City’s deadliest fire in more than 25 years.
Four children were among the dead, which was reported to have occurred a few minutes before 7 p.m, after a three-year-old boy played with burners on a stove inside an apartment on the first floor.
Paying tribute to the fallen soldier, Mr Jackson described PFC Mensah as an American hero who served his nation in uniform and sacrificed his life so that others might live.
He said the late soldier embodied the noblest values of the profession of arms even while off duty and whose example demonstrated the truest meaning of citizenship that shaped and defined his character, courage and honour.
“He performed these acts of heroism at the expense of his own life, which we honour today. His heroism is honoured in both the United States as in Ghana,” Mr Jackson stated.
The ambassador submitted that the story of America was written through the lives of citizens and immigrants like Emmanuel Mensah as in common men and women who became heroes by doing extraordinary things in pursuit of serving others.
“They place others, always before self. Their lives are an inspiration to us all, and the threads by which the national character of the United States is permanently woven,” Mr Jackson added.
A Senior Defence Official at the US Embassy, Lt. Col. Joseph Lee, in his tribute, said the act of self-sacrifice exhibited by the late soldier exemplified the highest value of a US service member.
He urged the family members to be proud of their son for showing a value of sacrifice for one’s self and others adding that “he demonstrated understanding of the natural state of allegiance to defend the constitution of the United States.”
An uncle of the deceased, Mr Andrew Kwadwo Oduro, in a teary tribute, thanked the US government for conferring a highest honour on his nephew for his heroism.
Source : graphic.com.gh