Armed Forces: A Patriot's Gift

First Lieut. Charles Williams, 32, clutched his green beret until his knuckles whitened as he stood tautly at Lyndon Johnson's side. Nearby stood his wife, Anita; three sons, Daniel, 12, Terence, 9, and James, 7; and his daughter, Shannon, 2½, who from time to time glanced down with obvious pride at her fluffy blue dress and party shoes.

"We have come here," President Johnson told the dignitaries assembled in the East Room, "to honor a very brave American soldier. The acts of extraordinary courage to which we pay tribute were not performed in hope of reward. They began with a...

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