Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
A teary-eyed Rose Mary Sabo Brown accepted the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama at a ceremony Tuesday that commemorated the dying act of her husband, Army Spc. Leslie Sabo Jr., during the Vietnam War.
The bestowal of the military’s highest award 42 years after Sabo sacrificed his own life in a spray of enemy fire and two grenade blasts in Cambodia, saving the lives of his fellow servicemen, sparked an emotional conversation among CNN.com readers who had this to say:
Some readers said they thought Sabo deserved the honor.
Westsacvoice: “Touching story about a foot soldier's sacrifice and efforts that helped save a lot of his comrades. We need more of these types of folks and not just in the military.”
Others questioned what merits a military award.
Bob: “Now this is a REAL honor - not like those other awards they give to anyone who stumbles and gets a skinned knee, just because it happened in a ‘war zone.’ ”
Redeye Dog: "Military medals all have their place in recognizing the sacrifices of men and women who, although may have only ‘skinned their knee’ in a ‘war zone,’ they did so knowing their step forward was one most others would not take in harm's way. The fact is, medals serve people like you more than they serve the people whom they are awarded to.”
Some readers question the meaning of a hero.
Venus52 8: "Why do they call people in the military heroes? I am kinda getting ill of the word. [I don't know] why, but I am. They always use these coined phrases that get on your nerves after awhile. Just call them by their name. Then we can decide if they are a hero or not. Some people come out of the military and kill their spouse or something terrible or the local park ranger or ... "
caneve: "I'm not sure if you're understanding the fact that 1) This soldier wasn't a paper pusher. He was an infantryman 2) He went above and beyond the call of duty. His actions that day are what coins him a hero, not just because he was in the military. Maybe one day you'll be able to grasp this concept."
What makes a hero?
A service member: "The Medal of Honor isn't an award you seek. You aren't ‘brave’ or ‘heroic’ because you want to be. Medal of Honor recipients are folks who found themselves in a bad situation, and the odds were badly against them and odds are they died dealing with it. Those that survived did so by the grace of God, and the award of the Medal of Honor is the very least the country can do to acknowledge the impossible situations that the recipients faced.”
Mark: "A friend of mine who is retired military (and knows/knew many men who won TONS of medals for bravery) told me one time what his definition of a hero is ... he said a hero is someone smart enough to come up with a plan during combat, just crazy or stupid enough to put it into action, and lucky enough to survive the endeavor. Now I say this not to demean our service men and women, I have the utmost respect for all of them ... what I am trying to say is that most of the time when a serviceman (or woman) performs some heroic act, it isn't because they have thought ‘Oh I can get a medal for this!’ it's because their instincts took over and they made a conscious decision to think of someone other than themselves.”
Despite the disagreements over what constitutes a hero or a heroic act, many agreed that our country’s military men and women deserve our gratitude and respect in times of war and in peace.
Nelson: "So many brave men and woman who gave their all in a country that didn't honor them. Still let's honor them not just in war but in peace. Being in the military doesn't get the pay nor honor sadly as people in sports do. Many service members who died in war may not have saved someone's life in order to receive this honor but in doing so they helped and honored our/my country. These people were brothers, sisters, husbands, fathers - just plain people ask to do something more only a few dare to do! From my heart - ‘THANK YOU.’"
Are you a veteran? Who was a hero in your unit, or what kind of heroic action hav you witnessed? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or sound off on video.
Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.