Uncle Bob’s Medals

His family all knew he had some medals. He’d showed a few to the grandchildren at times, even let them take a medal or two for their classroom “Show & Tell.”

After Uncle Bob passed away his children started sorting through their dad’s things and came across his old army kit bag up in the attic and found about ten medals. Curious as to what these represented, they wrote to the Dept of Veterans’ Affairs asking for information.

One of the medals, the letter said, was awarded to all soldiers who fought in World War II, and another was for those who saw battlefield action; several others were more common, too. But several of them were among the highest honors awarded by Britain, France, and Canada for courage in battle.

All those years and they never knew their dad was a hero! Why hadn’t they probed a bit more? Like most soldiers who fought overseas, Uncle Bob never talked about the War when he got back, so his family knew nothing of the battles he fought, the bravery he showed, his part in victories gained. That part of the family legacy is buried with their Dad.

I’m glad for the ones who did talk about being “overseas.” Our understanding is richer today for those soldiers and civilians who didn’t just forget it all, the people who shared their war experiences and gave us some idea of what they went through.It changed them in ways we who’ve only known years of peace can never understand.

We owe a debt to everyone who fought to make our country the free land it is today. Let’s appreciate what we have.



7 thoughts on “Uncle Bob’s Medals

    1. Thanks for your comment. A lot of them did get home and back to work, though quite a few found their jobs gone, especially after the First World War. Also, no one made any allowances for PTSD; if an ex-soldier couldn’t deal with the memories he usually drowned them.

      Part of the issue now, I think, is the seeming senselessness of the fight. In the World Wars soldiers and resistance fighters knew — and every civilian knew — the reason they were fighting. They had a united purpose and they were welcomed home as heroes. And they’d grown up in tough times, didn’t expect better coming home.

      When I think back to how the media and general public looked at the Vietnam war and returning Nam vets, it was a whole different story. The flak alone would have brought on a serious depression, IMO. “Here we are, we wasted two years and for what?” kind of thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sadly true. We saw a lot of change during the 60’s in regard to patriotism. Viet Nam was a very unpopular war, and the press–even way back then–did a lot to harm the way people thought about it. It was after Viet Nam that all the symptoms of PTSD were put together into the formal diagnosis.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment. I believe there are a lot of quiet heroes, some who worked behind the scenes, doing what was needed, doing without to support the war effort, etc. And still today, giving time to make the world a bit brighter for someone.
      Have you ever read the book, 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff? It’s amazing what one person can do for their fellow man when they set their mind to helping in some small way.

      Liked by 1 person

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