Like other veterans, we have wondered about all the ribbons and medals that are worn by the likes of former four-star general, now-disgraced, David Petraeus and Marine Gen. John Allen. Petraeus can hardly fit all of his ribbons and medals on his uniform. Gen. Allen has quite an assortment of ribbons and medals also. Both Petraeus and Allen have been in the news often lately due to the Petraeus sex scandal involving a woman who wrote a book about him and the thousands of emails Gen. Allen sent to a socialite in Florida.
We certainly aren’t against giving medals and ribbons to deserving military, although like other trophies when given too freely it diminishes their value.
As Peggy Noonan wrote in the weekend issue of The Wall Street Journal, we have an epidemic of egomania that has struck America’s civilian and military leadership. And, it is visible especially in a figure like Petraeus, who retired from a distinguished career in the military to head the CIA, which he left due to his sex scandal. In her column, she included a photo of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower in his uniform which was nearly naked of ribbons and medals. Next to his photo was one of Petraeus in uniform with all of his awards that went from his jacket pocket to his shoulder.
Eisenhower probably had more awards than Petraeus, and certainly deserved them, but the famed general of World War II was a modest soldier and he didn’t feel the need to be weighed down with his ribbons and medals. As Noonan wrote, Eisenhower didn’t feel the need to dazzle the masses with his honors.
“Top brass sure is brassier than it used to be,” wrote Noonan.
All of this came to mind because of a local program that is about to begin to alert Korean War veterans that the Republic of South Korea has available what is called the Peace Medal. It is available to military veterans who served in the Korean War during the years of 1950 and 1953. It might be called a Thanksgiving Medal. That’s because South Korea is thankful to all veterans who served in that war to save the country from North Korea, China, Russia and com-
The medal is for all the troops of all branches who were in that war zone when the shooting was going on. It’s not just for generals and admirals. Most of the Army troops, the Navy, Marines, and Air Force (and Coast Guard if they were in the war zone) never received anything more than several ribbons and most didn’t care whether they were given those. They never flaunted those honors. No egomania about them!
A Thanksgiving Medal is a unique award. Members of the Korean War Veterans Association want to bring this award to as many Korean War veterans as possible in this area. As we state, this medal is different and is somewhat the same that other countries, such as England and France, presented after World War II. The difference is that South Korea is giving this medal to all who served during the 1950-53 period in the war zone.
Dave Anderson, former commander of Post 218 of The American Legion, has volunteered to be the clearing agent for all Korean War veterans in this area who are eligible for the Thanksgiving Medal (officially the Ambassador Peace Medal). His address is 4056 Brookview Dr., Washington, MO 63090; telephone 636-239-7013. Proof is needed of a veteran’s service in the Korean war zone during 1950-53.
There is additional information in this issue about the Peace Medal and the effort to inform veterans of this award.