Friday, November 11, 2011
This is from last year on Veterans Day, but worth repeating.
I wasn't planning on writing anything special for Veteran's Day. I certainly know some vets, and am especially proud of some family members who served - My Dad (Navy), My Uncle Jim (Air Force), My Uncle Rick (Army) - but a couple of things I read yesterday changed my mind and prodded me to write this. I'll give you a quick bit of back-story and then send you to read about a fellow I admire.
My swell friend, Cricket, wrote about some vets he knew. It's a good piece - as is everything he writes - and worth a look. You can find it HERE. After having read his post, I decided to leave a comment.
Another comment, by another friend, Thimbelle, prompted me to say something concerning Bill MacDonald, my stepfather. Here's what I said about him, which, I'm sorry to say, included what seems to be a mistaken notion concerning his military service.
My Stepfather, Bill, received a bronze star for his World War II service - quite a high decoration - and he never ever speaks of what he did to earn it. When anyone asks him to do so, he specifically refuses. I know he was a prisoner of war, but that's as much as I know. I respect his wish to not speak about it, although some try to prod him to talk. He's a true gentleman - a gentle man - and someone pushing him to speak about his military career is one of the few things about which I've seen him get truly angered. I've just told him "Thanks" once or twice, and even that seems to be more than he would like to hear about it.
I admire that reticence to cast himself as a heroic figure, a lot. Doesn't mean he wasn't (or isn't, for that matter.)
Before I go any further, I need to let you know about my mistake. It seems Bill was NOT a prisoner of war. I guess I had heard someone else say that he was, and Bill, being who he is, just didn't want to talk about his service, period, so he never corrected that person. As a result, I had always harbored the notion that he had been. As I've since found out, that appears to not be his story. The actual story is, to my mind, much more interesting.
After leaving that comment, I decided to see if there might be anything about Bill, and his military service, on the web. I specifically wanted to see if there was a listing of Bronze Star recipients, and see whether or not Bill was on it.
Don't get the wrong idea; I had no doubt that Bill had received that medal. I just wanted to see if there was someplace where he was receiving some recognition for having done so, and perhaps I'd also have some light shed on what his actions were during his time of service. I've never pushed him to talk about it, but that doesn't mean I wasn't curious to find out.
Well, I put his name in Google, along with "Bronze Star", and I found something. It wasn't a listing of recipients of the award. It was a newspaper account of how My Mother had prodded him to try and get another medal he deserved - The Purple Heart.
The Purple Heart is awarded for being wounded in action.
While Bill does not seek the spotlight, My Mom is not one to sit idly by and let a person, especially her husband, not get credit where it is due. I have little doubt that Bill kept on saying it didn't matter whether he got the recognition, but My Mom, extremely gentle woman that she is, is like a pitbull when she feels that some wrong should be righted. She won't let go of it until it happens.
And now, please go to the link below, and read Bill's story. I'll finish my part of this by once again, on this Veteran's Day, saying "Thanks, Bill." The difference is, this time I know why I'm thanking him.
Soon, with more better stuff.
[2011 update: Bill has still not received his Purple Heart. His scars, however, remain.]