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February 09, 2006

Did you ever wonder why...

...there was such a furor generated last election-time over whether or not John Kerry came by his Purple Hearts legitimately?

Lest anyone think us uniforms were stirring a tempest in a teapot, remember this: The PHM is an old award, and it's an Equal Opportunity one. Nothing--skin color, ethnicity, religious preference, where you came from or how you got here--matters except one thing: you bled from wounds inflicted by the enemy.

In many units, including my own, you weren't submitted for the award unless your wounds were such that you required evacuation to a field hospital. We considered it a point of honor to pull the shallower pieces of plexiglass or metal out ourselves--we didn't consider ourselves in the same league with the friends who lost limbs and lives.

The PHM Brotherhood is largely unrecognized as such. Some small towns have Walks of Honor with, at most, a name and service branch. A quick glimpse of the medal on one license plate on one car parked outside a mall or passing in the opposite direction on a busy road does nothing to convey the size of the Brotherhood--the tremendous number of Americans who have shed their blood for Freedom. And many, many shed their life's blood in its entirety. But there was never any single place where you could stand in one place and *see* all of them--hear their stories, see their faces, learn their fates.

But there will be.

H/t to Fuzzybear Lioness, who searches...