Ducky knows why Jethro hates his Purple Heart.
An established relationship story.
Written: May 2006. Word count: 512.
The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of an Armed Force or any civilian national of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Services after 5 April 1917, has been wounded or killed, or who has died or may hereafter die after being wounded-
While clearly an individual decoration, the Purple Heart differs from all other decorations in that an individual is not "recommended" for the decoration; rather he or she is entitled to it upon meeting specific criteria.
A Purple Heart will be issued to the next of kin of each person entitled to a posthumous award. Issue will be made automatically by the Commanding General, PERSCOM, upon receiving a report of death indicating entitlement. *
Of all his medals and awards, the one Jethro dislikes the most is his Purple Heart.
In fact dislike is far too mild a term.
He loathes it.
He cannot look at it.
In fact if it were not for me, he would no longer have it.
It was I who rescued it from where he had thrown it.
I who had simply put it back in his drawer.
I who had faced the silent accusation that shot from him.
I who listened as he shouted at me.
I who stayed when he ordered me to leave.
I who cleaned him and the bathroom up, when too much whiskey, drunk far too quickly, on a far too empty stomach, did what few things did - disobeyed him.
I who later held him in my arms as he cried.
I who refused, for the only time in my life, to let him make love to me.
I who wished I could take the pain away from him.
I who hurt for him. For what he had lost.
I who would have traded places with Shannon and Kelly had I been able to do so.
I who, despite his hatred and my own self-loathing, was proud of him and the Purple Heart he had deserved. As did all the men and boys who were awarded them.
I whose pain was as real as his.
I who loved him. Understood him. Accepted him for what he was. Saw beyond the cock-sure bastard he all too often appeared to be.
I who . . .
I who forced him to look at the medal. Forced him to hold it. Touch it. Acknowledge it. Accept it. If only for those few seconds.
I who knew that at that moment he wished the award had been a posthumous one.
I who knew that he would now let the medal rest. Let it sleep in his care. No matter how much he wanted to let it go.
I who knew he would do that because it was I who had asked him to. Told him to.
I who knew that if anyone other than myself ever saw it, that they would do so without his consent.
* Information obtained from Paragraph 2-8, Army Regulation 600-8-22 (Military Awards)
25 February 1995. Found on http://www.americal.org/awards/ph.htm
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