Brad Messer Commentary
Monday, October 6, 2003

Free Medals! Step Right Up!

The armed services have been handing out medals like they were party favors. But if you mention this, here come a zillion patriots accusing you of being unAmerican.

When the Army loaded some medals onto a young women because she had been lost, got in a wreck and became a POW, we talked about it. A lot of people believe that Jessica Lynch is a little sweetie, and if she gets a Bronze Star, what's the harm?

KTSA talk shows have handled the topic of medal allocations -- this many medals available for this company, that many for that brigade -- whether the units saw combat or not. David Hackworth writes,

"Recently in Iraq, an Army two-star general put himself in for the Silver Star, a gallantry award, for just being there."

One of the most poignant comments on earned and unearned medals came to me in an email from Shirley. She wrote

When I look at my husband's Distinguished Flying Cross, I know what he did to EARN it, he knew, his crew knew, and our kids know. That's all that's important. It took me a long time to be able to think of it that way.
No one will every think of Jessica Lynch the way we think of my husband and all the other men and women who honestly earned awards. Quite the contrary.

I'm with you, Shirley. We respect the servicepeople who earned their medals. Unfortunately, it's impossible to tell the one from the other.

Brad Messer commentary, KTSA.

David H. Hackworth

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