Back in 2009 I was given the incredible honour of being permitted to attend the funeral of a US hero by the name of Lewis Millett at Riverside California. This Colonel's story has been told and covered several times in this space. Use the search engine to locate the blogs. I would also HIGHLY suggest you spend about 5 minutes to watch the wonderful video at... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9H7XplkI54
What you see above is me standing at the entrance to this gorgeous awe-inspiring memorial to American greatest heroes of all time. When I say American, I should give a caveat. There were at least 45 countries, including Canada of course, that service members came from that would earn the medal with their American comrades. One in five in the medal's history were non American born. Few know this!
In the center of the reflective pool above is a structure that consists of jets... or streams of water that cascade down to the pool. I was told that back in the early days the number of actual jets being used represented one for each of the MOH men then alive. But I believe that symbolism has been put to rest. (Pardon the pun..)
If memory serves correct, there are 39 black marble panels around the edge of the pool. On each are listed the recipients, by war. While there in 2009 I counted 31 panels containing names of Canadians or those with connections to Canada for all to see. Though nationalities are not listed.
Here are some close ups...
Cody is the same man we heard of last week. But then he was using his Greatest Shows of the West name... BUFFALO BILL. But he was not only an entertainer, and in fact a very famous entertainer, but also a war hero who was awarded a Medal of Honor.
William joined one of the State Cavalry units in the later part of the Civil War, did honourable service and left the military after the war. But he was soon offered a position as a scout in one of the national Cavalry regiments, and it was here that he would be involved in no less than 19 battles and skirmishes with the Natives during what became known as the Indian Wars.
On 26 April 1872 he had led a small unit off to track down natives that had been stealing horses. Upon finding them he got the soldiers within about 50 yards before being discovered. A few fled off in full gallop with some of the stolen horses. Details seem sketchy but is was during this event that he was later cited for bravery and within less than a month... on 22 May 1872 his actions earned him the Medal of Honor. When his military service was up he put the medal and uniform away and got on with his life in the Wild West business.
Buffalo Bill died on 10 Jan., 1917. Less than a month later the results of the famous purge of Feb 1917 saw to it that his medal like so many others was rescinded. According to the official reports the argument offered was that since no longer in the service, but simply on a contract to scout for the military, he and 4 other scouts all would lose their medals. And so they did.
The rescinding, like those of the 27th Maine and others noted often in this space, were just as illegal as were the others for reasons noted in those blogs.
But finally some good news....
One must ask how long it will take before a proper full investigation into the legality of this Purge can be conducted, and a path set forth on how to rectify it once and for all.
The very dignity of the medal is at stake as this injustice to so many heroes simply goes on and on and on.
I shall return on September 1st, to talk about Purple Heart Day, which was celebrated on August 7th, and two major injustices that I see on that front as well.
Please join me then,