To begin, I want to mention that many months ago I came across a wonderful story of a US Medal of Honor recipient. He was on such a secret mission that...for years the government could not come forth with his story, and that of the men with him during the Vietnam War.
It is such a great story that I want to suggest that you view it and sit back and wonder where you and I would be today without men and women like this fellow and his comrades, and the thousands and hundreds of thousands in uniform that have given us, regardless of what side of the 49th you live on, the freedoms we enjoy today, and far too often take for granted.
This man was a Sergeant at the time, but many years later he arrived at DC wearing the uniform of a retired Captain with over 2 decades of service under his belt.
His story can be viewed here... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlTvdqe_Bo8
I will not give further details... you must go out to get them. And you will be pretty proud when you read about this hero, and why he was summonsed to Washington DC to be presented with a Medal of Honor.
Whilst on the net recently I again came across the entire ceremony and again, as before was riveted to the story.
My only chagrin was that whilst the President read from his teleprompter the words of wisdom of whomever, those providing the words ought to have known better, to NOT refer to the medal repeatedly as the CONGRESSIONAL Medal of Honor, as there is no such thing.
One would think the very man holding the power to award or not, ought to have been so advised over the past year of making this mistake. Trouble is it is oft repeated by many in authority and many in the press on a routine basis.
That said, the ceremony was wonderful and even included the very important message from the President that... "the medal will forever enshrine him in the history of the nation."
While not wishing to take away form the great ceremony, I still think about the other side of the story, one documented in this space often.
Perhaps some day someone will take on the challenge of articulating before the government the many cases of those who became victims of the illegal purge of 1916, and see to it that their descendants can finally get some enshrining for their forefathers.
Moving on, I still await further developments regarding the new marker for Newfoundland born Ordinary Seaman Thomas Kersey.
Kersey was serving on the USS Plymouth back in July 1876 when a shipmate fell overboard whilst at the navy dockyard at NY. He dove in and rescued the fellow and was awarded a Medal of Honor a short two weeks later for this life saving, at the risk of losing his own. (And 2 days before that awarding sailors Powers and Connolley would also save a life, but this time to a visitor to the USS Plymouth, while in harbour at Halifax Nova Scotia and would also later be warded Medals of Honor.) The only time in the history of the medal that it was awarded for actions within Canadian waters.)
Kersey would serve another dozen years and whilst in Massachusetts he took sick and sent to the naval hospital there where he passed away in 1888.
For years many people have tried in vain to find his actual grave. But it has now turned up in a family plot in Newport Rhode Island.
On another front, about a month ago I was doing internet searches of a particular recipient when three other stories jumped out at me.
One was on Sgt Charles McGillivary, PEI born Medal recipient for bravery in taking out several German machine guns nests during the Battle of the Bulge in WW ll. Of course the 1945 article made repeated references to WINING the medal and calling it by the wrong name, but it had another glaring error.
It noted that the 1945 awarding of the MOH to a native Canadian was the first ever in the war. No doubt the US Coast Guard would have been upset about reading of that when of course Vancouver BC born Douglas Munroe was killed in action at Guadalcanal, saving some 500 marines and sailors lives and was awarded the medal posthumously THREE YEARS before McGillivary's award.
A second story found told readers that a road at Fort Bliss in Texas has been named after the Colonel of the 15th Cavalry. That fellow was George Horace Gilmore, a Canadian. A base of Bosnia was also named in honour of this officer who earned a Medal of Honor during the Indian Wars, and carried the bullet near his heart for some 60 years before it moved and finally took its toll. Georg's father, also a Canadian, was a General during the Civil War and was one of at least 10 Canadians carrying that rank during that war, despite less than half that number being credited by many a web site. And the General also has a street..or avenue in Minnesota named after him for his bravery during the Civil War.
But of much interest to me is the short story found in 2 newspapers about a fellow from eastern Canada, who according to the papers, receive a Medal of Honor in the mail through Canada Customs from the US. He apparently earned it for helping to rescue the terribly wounded General Sickes from the battle filed at Gettysburg.
But I can not find any verification in the normal places re the story's legitimacy.
Another story has also just cropped up days ago about a fellow who apparently came from France to the US, earned a medal, married and dies and a child that moved to Canada. I wonder if the recipient came to Canada before going to the US, or if the child coming to Canada brought the medal with him, and if it is still here somewhere.
More to follow up on.
In the mean time use the search engine at this site to review the stories above referred to and also have a look at stories of Joseph Robinson, Michael McCarthy and Benjamin F Youngs. They all earned their Medals of Honor for actions on today's date..17 June.
back next week,