MUSHROOM KINGDOM-Mario, hero of the famed "Super Mario Bros" video game and avid plumber, was awarded the Purple Heart by the United States Military, marking the first time a video game character has ever won the prestigious award.
Mario, a legendary hero in video games, has rescued Mushroom Kingdom's Princess numerous times since 1985, when "Super Mario Bros." debuted in America.
"Mario is indeed a hero," said General Toad Stuhl. "Anytime the Princess was in trouble, Mario was there. Anytime Yoshi was trapped in a question box, Mario was there. Anytime he had a strange dream about some monster named Wart, he was there. But the important thing is, many 1-UPs and Fire Flowers were lost during the course of his valiant efforts to thwart Koopa's evil plots."
When asked about his feelings on accepting the award, simply said, "Yahoo!"
Mario's steed, Yoshi, expressed his sentiment on Mario's newest award.
"He's quite an admirable human being," Yoshi said. "It's not every day you meet a man who can unclog toilets, jump 10 times his height and also have a doctorate degree specializing in Eliminating Four Viruses in a Row of the Same Color."
Captain Lou Albano, who portrayed Mario on the short-lived "Super Mario Bros. Super Show," said of Mario, "Are you offering me work? I need it. If you're not, then get outta here!"
Skeptics argue that Mario's Purple Heart was not a result of bravery, but dumb luck and foolhardiness.
"Mario was always getting into danger without heeding any caution," said 'Bullet' Bill Szymanski. "I remember in stage 2-3, he kept jumping from broken bridge to broken bridge, all the while Cheep Cheeps jumped out of the lake. To this day I still think he should have used the Warp Pipe in Stage 1-2. As a result, he spent a lot of unnecessary time pulling those pointy fish out of his butt."
"He's not that tough," said Marty and Bruce Hammer, known better as the Hammer Brothers. "Anyone could be a hero if they have carefully placed mushrooms and raccoon suits along the way."
Luigi could not be reached for comment. Well, he was reached, but he couldn't comment, because for some reason he doesn't speak anymore in recent games.
Said Princess Peach, "He's a sweet enough guy, but did he have to stalk me all the time? I had to change my name a couple times to get him off my back. First I was Daisy, then I was Princess Toadstool, and now I'm Princess Peach. Still, that weird little Italian saved me from Bowser's clutches many times, putting his own body at risk."
Mario has lost an estimated 185,673 lives in his lifetime, using 34,531 continues. Many of his deaths include being crushed by Spiny eggs, falling off moving platforms and running out of time.
When asked about his adventures in the past 19 years, Mario simply said, "Let's-a go!"
Media experts predict that if Mario is awarded two more Purple Hearts, he may try to win the Democratic nomination for President in 2008.