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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 17, 2010 3 Adar 5770

The Weight of Medals

By Roger Simon




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | My father's medals arrived in the mail one day many years after World War II had ended. I could not have been more than 4 or 5, but I remember him taking them out of the box and showing them to me: the heavy pieces of metal hanging from the dark silky ribbons and the little multistriped bars. There must have been a half-dozen or more.

The only one I still remember is the Purple Heart because my father pointed out that George Washington, the father of our country, had his image on it.

I do not know if my father got his medals for "valor" or not. I know he was a combat veteran in the Pacific. But when the medals arrived, he did a very unusual thing. It was clear to me that these medals were a very special adult thing and that I was privileged merely to be allowed to touch them. And, as soon as my father put the medals back in their box, I expected the usual lecture about how I was never to touch them without his permission.

Instead, my father looked at the box for a moment and then put it in my lap.

"Here," he said. "For you."

It is a sign of how stunned I was that I still remember everything about that moment. How we were sitting on my father and mother's bed and how, when my father set the box down, the medals inside made a heavy clinking sound.

Where they are today, I cannot tell you. I am not proud of that, but I do know with certainty that my father, who died a few years ago, would not have minded a bit.

I know this because when I learned that you got the Purple Heart for being wounded, I pestered my father for the story of how he got it. And he told a hilarious tale of unloading a cargo ship in Alaska and having a side of beef fall on him. He was recovering in the hospital, he said, when an officer came down the aisle handing out Purple Hearts and he got one.

The story never failed to make me laugh, and it was only many years later that it occurred to me that it might not be true. That he might have gotten the Purple Heart in quite a different way. It also occurred to me that none of the tales he told me of his years in the war ever had anything to do with combat or killing people or the peril of being killed. They were all wild tales of meeting up with Kodiak bears (at one point, my father was stationed in the Aleutian Islands) or how he and his pals dealt with their foolish officers. ("Ninety-day wonders," he would always call them.)

Letter from JWR publisher


In one sense, my father took his years of service seriously — he was a member both of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Jewish War Veterans, and he went to meetings — but he never talked seriously about his war years to me. He never told war stories. He never told me about the danger or the horror.

And when, years after the war was over, the Army sent him his medals, he took one look at them, closed the box and gave them away. He did not, I think, want to be reminded of what they were really for.

I am thinking about all this because of the terrible death of Adm. Jeremy "Mike" Boorda, the Navy's highest ranking officer, who killed himself when questions were raised about his medals.

Newsweek magazine was investigating whether he deserved to wear two "valor" decorations normally associated with combat duty. Boorda had served on ships off the coast of Vietnam during that war, and those ships were engaged in combat operations, but Boorda had never personally come under fire or been in combat.

It now appears that Boorda may have had a perfect right to wear the two bronze "V" pins, but he killed himself because he feared that the controversy might damage his own reputation and that of the Navy.

You can't work backward from irrational acts like suicide and find rational reasons for them, so I don't think it is possible to blame Newsweek for Boorda's death. He was obviously a troubled man, working under enormous pressures.

But I have to wonder if the fact that Boorda never was in combat led him to place a higher value on it than a combat veteran would have. It reminds me a little of men like Ross Perot and Bob Dornan, who are always going on and on about the glories of the battlefield, having never been there themselves.

My father was on the battlefield and found no glory there, found nothing there he wanted to tell his son about.

A few years ago, while researching a column, I learned from a Pentagon official that it is relatively easy to find out what medals a person has earned. He told me that if, for instance, I wanted to find out exactly what medals my father had received and exactly what he had received them for, he could get the information for me.

No, I told him, don't bother. It made no difference. Not to my father and not to me.

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