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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Fallen Soldier's Story Continues To Inspire

Sgt. 1st Class Jared C. Monti was killed in Afghanistan in 2006 and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2009. (U.S. Army)

Sgt. 1st Class Jared C. Monti was killed in Afghanistan in 2006 and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2009. Now, there is a book about his life and how his father, Paul Monti, has kept his memory alive. (U.S. Army)

After Jared Monti was killed in Afghanistan in 2006, his father Paul Monti started driving his son’s old truck.

Paul Monti is pictured with his son Jared's truck in 2011. Jared Monti was killed in Afghanistan in 2006. Paul still drives Jared's truck. (Anna Miller/Here & Now)

Paul Monti is pictured in 2011 with his son Jared’s truck, which he continued to drive after Jared was killed in Afghanistan in 2006. (Anna Miller/Here & Now)

When a songwriter in Nashville heard Paul talking about that on Here & Now, she co-wrote a song that eventually won Song of the Year at the Country Music Awards.

Now, Jared Monti’s life and how his father has kept his memory alive are the subject of a new book called “See You on the High Ground: The Jared Monti Story” by Len Sandler. (Read an excerpt below.)

Here & Now producer and reporter Alex Ashlock, who did the original interview with Paul Monti that inspired the song, went to a book signing on Sunday and brought us this report.

See photos from the book signing and more:

Len Sandler, Alex Ashlock and Paul Monti are pictured at the book signing for "See You on the High Ground" on Jan. 18, 2015. (Greta Kaemmer)Paul Monti signs copies of "See You on the High Ground" by Len Sandler, on Jan. 18, 2015. (Greta Kaemmer)Melida and Carlos Arredondo, and Paula Jean and her service dog Cooper, pose for a photo at the book signing for "See You on the High Ground," on Jan. 18, 2015. (Greta Kaemmer)In this photo of a photo, Jared Monti's mother and father, Janet and Paul Monti, accept his Medal of Honor from President Obama. (Courtesy of the Monti family)Jared C. Monti Memorial at American Legion Post 405 Raynham, Mass. (Greta Kaemmer)Jared Monti’s Medal of Honor certificate. (Greta Kaemmer)

Book Excerpt: ‘See You on The High Ground’

By Len Sandler


Cover of the book "See You on the Higher Ground"

Deliberately exposing himself to machine gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire, SFC Jared Monti sacrificed himself attempting not once but three times to rescue one of his squad members from the “kill zone” after his patrol came under attack by insurgents on a mountain in Afghanistan. He declared, “He’s my guy. I’m going to get him.” In doing so, Jared was able to draw fire away from the rest of his patrol and buy time for air support to arrive. After suffering a direct hit from an RPG, the 30-year-old SFC recited the “Lord’s Prayer” as he lay dying. His last words were, “I’ve made peace with God. Tell my family I love them.”

“I’ve come to the conclusion, and it’s the only way I can deal with it, that it was his destiny. This is what he was meant to do,” confesses his mother Janet.

His father, my childhood friend Paul, has been unable to throw out anything of his son’s. His house is crowded with boxes of Jared’s personal belongings and he continues to drive his Dodge Ram truck. Songwriter Connie Harrington heard a radio interview with Paul which inspired “I Drive Your Truck” which became the #1 country song in America and was named “Song of the Year” at both the 2013 CMA and 2014 ACM Awards shows and given the Golden Boot Award as 2014 “Song of the Year.”

“The actions we honor today were not a passing moment of courage. They were the culmination of a life of character and commitment,” said Barack Obama as he posthumously presented Jared with the first Medal of Honor of his presidency on September 17, 2009. Jared died a heroic death but, more importantly, lived a heroic life. This is the story of that life.

Excerpted from the book SEE YOU ON THE HIGH GROUND by Len Sandler. Copyright © 2014 by Len Sandler. Reprinted with permission of Fireship Press.

Watch: Jared Monti's Medal of Honor ceremony

Watch: Music video for the song 'I Drive Your Truck'


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