Medal of Honor

Medal of Honor

A Story by Patches I'm not so new anymore.
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short story

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It was cold for a Veteran’s day in the deep south,. The wind was whipping through the trees, tossing soggy, varicolored leaves about with abandon, ripping away those which still clung tenaciously to the black boughs that glistened with rain water whenever the moon showed through raggedly torn clouds.

The old man shivered with cold, daring every now and again to take a cautious step on the ice slick asphalt running track oval that circled the small park which separated his home in the subdivision from the V.F.W. Hall on the far side.

He could see the hall hazily through his wet, fogged glasses. His beaver felt fedora was almost soaked through even though he had covered it with a silicone spray before leaving his domicile for the short walk to the park entrance. He felt in his coat pocket for his “pisscutter” V.F.W. cap with a badge identifying the number of the hall to which he belonged, branch of his military service, and the war in which he had served. He had the last two items stitched into his cap with the permission of the post commander.

The post commander had been Master sergeant in the same platoon as the old man and was caught in the same ambush from which, somehow the old man, then a tech sergeant and he had escaped the old man carrying the badly wounded sergeant in a “fireman’s carry” over his shoulder and across his back while running and firing wildly at the unseen enemy., receiving a 30 caliber slug in his upper thigh for his trouble.

It was in that skirmish that the old man had won his silver star and later was awarded the highest military honor that could be given to a serviceman in time of war.

The old man grinned as he thought back to the call he received saying that he was to be awarded this medal for valor above and beyond the call of duty.

It came ten years after the truce that ended the Korean Conflict. That was the problem. The Korean Conflict had never officially been a declared war. It was designated as a “police action”

Thus the S*N*A*F*U* when it came to recognizing meritorious conduct by members of the armed forces.

By the time the politicians decided that the right thing to do was to recognize the beyond the call of duty actions done by these veterans during the “conflict” some had to be awarded post humorously even though the veterans had returned home from Korea, some couldn’t be found.

But those that were alive and found were awarded the medal with much pomp and circumstance.

He fingered the cold disc as he timidly took another step forward on the rain slick asphalt running track that circled the park. The rain had slackened a bit but the wind was still howling through the oaks that were spaced neatly inside the oval of the running track.

The shortest way to the other side of the park was to cross the grassy area from one side of the oval to the other rather than walk around the track. However to do so would be to take a risk of slipping and falling in the muck and wet grass between one side of the oval and the other.

The old man wasn’t going to risk that! He was in durn good shape for a person his age but if he did slip and fall he doubted if he would be able to get himself up.

He thought he had heard something other than the rain and wind as he took another step, but wasn’t sure because a sudden flash of lightening and loud rumble of thunder made him momentarily deaf and blind.

The rain began to fall harder as soon as the world grew dark again. The old solider took another blind step putting his foot into a wide crack in the asphalt and pitched forward as he tried to pull his trapped foot from the hole. His head hit the asphalt with a resounding “wump.” He wasn’t unconscious long, the rain saw to that. When he came to a few seconds after the fall, the first thing he noticed was that his bifocals were bent out of shape and rested at a queer angle on his nose, his soaked fedora lay a few inches from his hand and his left ankle hurt really bad. It was as though someone had taken a red hot fireplace poker and driven it into the Achilles tendon.

He knew that it would be impossible for him to rise, even if he hadn’t twisted or possibly broken his ankle he couldn’t have done so. Resigning himself to whatever fate awaited him he closed his eyes and began to pray.

The last thing he was conscience of….The Korean war had ended with the signing of the cease fire document and he was among the fifth group of soldiers to the board a troop ship for home.

He was discovered a half-hour later by someone who was cutting through the park after the rain had ceased and rushed to the hospital , his right hand was in his trouser pocket clutching the only treasure he had in the world, a gold medal attached to a red white and blue ribbon… his “Medal of Honor.”

 

 

© 2013 Patches I'm not so new anymore.


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Added on November 11, 2013
Last Updated on November 11, 2013