Author Topic: Ribbon and Tin  (Read 950 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online EC

  • Shanghaied Editor
  • Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 17,355
  • Adulthood is like a meal. From the food's PoV.
Ribbon and Tin
« on: August 13, 2014, 04:12:59 AM »
Medals mean jack shit. I got a tobacco tin full of them going back a bunch of generations. They made no one's life better. Didn't put food on the table. A lot of them are of the "I was there" variety. Nothing exotic. No life or death charges, just people wanting not to die and usually succeeding.

Yesterday I was privileged to watch the awarding of a DSO. It's a rare thing, a bit like the Medal of Honor, except you bleed for it but keep on breathing. Our only higher award is the Victoria Cross. That tends to be given posthumously. The English are odd like that. Want the highest accolade the country bestows? Sorry, mate, you got to die to get it. There are few willing candidates, for obvious reasons.

So why bother? I certainly don't wear mine, ever. I consider ribbon boards a bit ridiculous, to say the least. You see a General or Admiral and you think "Holy shit, you could paper a room with that thing." It means nothing. Yet it means everything at the same time.

People like to be recognized. My Dad is probably prouder of his Singapore medal than he is of his DSM. He made a difference there. Sure, his difference was shooting a terrorist with a concrete rocket (accidentally), but still - it makes for a good story if you pour a few beers into him. When he got his medal last year, I have no idea who were prouder. Him on the dais, or me 5 rows back. Mom even cracked a smile, which is commonly considered the harbinger of the end times.

They are just bits of ribbon and tin. In themselves they mean nothing. The stories behind them mean everything.

The fastest way to a man's heart? Inch to the right of the breastbone, between the fourth and fifth rib.

Avatar from Mythtickle

I've got a website now: Smoke and Ink

Offline flowers

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 18,355
Re: Ribbon and Tin
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2014, 11:51:18 AM »
Congratulations.


Offline 240B

  • Lord of all things Orange!
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 5,435
Re: Ribbon and Tin
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2014, 05:17:03 PM »
What you say here hit the spot with me. I was never a medal horder like some in the military. I took what I got, and that was it. I was never like some of the guys who would protest all the way up to the top if they were passed over for a medal. A medal, in some ways, sort of cheapened the whole experience, in my mind.
 
This part struck me, "You see a General or Admiral and you think "Holy shit, you could paper a room with that thing."
 
When I first joined at 19, I went to Navy boot camp in San Diego. The first time I saw a senior officer in full dress uniform, in full regalia, it made me chuckle. It reminded me of a Christmas tree in every way. Throw some twinkling lights on him, put a few gifts around his feet, and you're done.
 
He had the ornaments, the tinsel, the garland, the sash, everything. It is no exaggeration to say that you could, as a matter of fact, decorate a small 4' Christmas tree with what this guy was wearing. I was unimpressed. (no disrespect to anyone, but it seemed a little silly)
 
When you know the real deal of what goes on, the medal lose their shine. Medals are almost exclusively for civilians. It would be very hard to impress a vet with a shiny piece of ribbon and tin.
 
But, I see the need for it in some circles, just not the circles I ran around in. Anyway, enjoyed your post. And I deeply understood what you said.
You cannot "COEXIST" with people who want to kill you.

Online EC

  • Shanghaied Editor
  • Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 17,355
  • Adulthood is like a meal. From the food's PoV.
Re: Ribbon and Tin
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2014, 11:49:38 PM »
The "I was there's" do have some use, I guess. You can find someone you have something in common with in a crowded room. Don't think I have ever worn my board though. Dislike formal affairs a lot.

The only medal I do wear is my Grandfathers Ypres medal - once a year for Memorial Sunday. He was in the worst hellhole of WW1 and wasn't even armed. Transport corps: food and ammo to the front, wounded to the rear, all with a horse and cart and facing constant shelling. Now that was a man. Wish I'd met him. He died the year before I was born.
The fastest way to a man's heart? Inch to the right of the breastbone, between the fourth and fifth rib.

Avatar from Mythtickle

I've got a website now: Smoke and Ink


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf