Friday, June 06, 2014

Purple Heart

Thank you all who served.

All the D-Day and WWII talk sent me to my family photo stash to see if I could find a certain photo. Found it. My uncle's Purple Heart and the bullet that paralyzed him below the waist. Like most of those who have served, he rarely mentioned his service and, in fact, since I grew up seeing him on his crutches, I knew little of his war experiences. As far as I knew, everyone had an uncle on crutches, right?

I guess I eventually figured it out but didn't even know he had a Purple Heart until one day he brought it when they visited. I must have been in college or thereabouts. He knew I was a history major and fascinated by all things history, including reading many WWII books, so he broke his silence to tell me about his battle experiences and why he received the purple heart. I felt like I'd been handed a treasure when he allowed me to hold and photograph the medal, bullet and some coins that held special significance. 

I won't go into all that here, suffice it to say, that was his story, not mine, but showing it here in tribute to all those who fought so that we have our freedom. I'll simply say he was at D-Day but was shot in the spine while in Germany. The shell pictured with the medal is the one that destroyed his spine. He's gone now, died in '05, so I thank not just him but all those who fought to keep us free. Thank you.

First posted on Facebook today. 

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