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Wearing an Ancestor's Medals Mega-thread

mariomike

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Journeyman said:
* Actually, I just posted that link to get the "Colonel Bogey March" stuck in your heads  ;)

Colonel Saito: Do you know what will happen to me if the bridge is not built on time?
Colonel Nicholson: I haven't the foggiest.
Colonel Saito: I'll have to kill myself. What would you do if you were me?
Colonel Nicholson: I suppose if I were you... I'd have to kill myself.
Colonel Nicholson: [raising the glass of scotch he previously declined] Cheers!
 

YYC Retired

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Blackadder1916 said:
And where does it say that?  Perhaps you can provide a reference.

Sorry to dig up such an old thread, but, a reference was asked for and I've finally found the time to do a bit of research.

So, here goes..

Army Standing Orders for Dress
Volume Two
Part Five
Chapter 4
Paragraph 4.9
Sub-Paragraph b

Wearing of foreign awards earned while a member of a foreign service
4.9 Approval may be given for a person enlisting in the Australian Army to wear medals earned
while a member of a foreign service. The basic criteria for approval are that:
a. such medals were earned during operations which are supported by the Australian
Government;
b. were not earned while serving with enemy forces; and
c. awards have equivalent Australian awards, for example long service awards should
have similar qualifying periods.

The above was copied from the online version of the Australian Army Standing Orders for Dress and apply to wearing of the awards on uniform, not on civvy dress.

And in reading the title again, a little off topic... sorry.

Cheers....
 

Michael OLeary

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Looks like this one is back in the media:

Article link

Veteran's wife can't legally wear military medals
CBC News
Posted: Oct 28, 2011 7:09 AM AT
Last Updated: Oct 28, 2011 7:45 AM AT

A Charlottetown woman says she wants to honour her late husband by wearing his military medals for Remembrance Day, but she doesn't want to break the law.

Madrien Ferris would like to wear the 10 medals her husband Albert received during his 30 years in the Canadian Armed Forces. But Article 419 of the Criminal Code prohibits anyone other than the veteran from doing so.

"The medals are very important to me. He loved being in the military, that was his great, great love," said Ferris.

"And I think that's really a shame because now his medals are no longer on display. They're just put away somewhere."

Our Duty, a non-profit group in Newfoundland that advocates for veterans, said children and spouses should be able to wear the medals as an act of remembrance, something that's allowed in Britain and Australia.

"Clearly, this section of the code is intended to target fraud and those who might impersonate a veteran," said the group's president Jeff Rose-Martland in a news release Wednesday.

"However, there are no exemptions or defences outlined in the code."

Attempts have been made in Canada to change the law, but so far that hasn't happened.

A spokesman from Canada's Veterans Affairs Department said veterans are divided on the issue, but he doesn't know of any plans to change the law.

For now, Ferris's medals will stay in storage.

"I hope that the law will be changed one day," said Madrien Ferris. "That my children or my grandchildren will take pride in wearing them."
 

Good2Golf

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She could have her husband's medals mounted in a "shadow box" (examples here and here) and bring them with her to the rememberance ceremony.  People will see the medals she carries and likely ask questions about them more than they will spark up a conversation with someone wearing (unbeknownst to them) someone else's medals.

Regards
G2G
 

57Chevy

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G2G,
        excellent response +300 coming your way  :yellow:
 

Pusser

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I just don't get it.  Why do people want to wear somebody else's medals?  I really don't think it matters whether you wear them on the left side or the right side.  Many people don't understand the distinction and will think they belong to the wearer.  I don't buy the argument that they can worn in honour of someone else.  It's not much of a memorial if there is no explanation, so unless you're wearing a picture and a card telling others who is being honoured, I don't see it.  I can't help but feel that many folks want to participate in the renewed popularity of veterans nowadays and want to try and live vicariously through their ancestors.  I think the best way to honour your ancestors is to mount the medals properly, and display them on your wall where they can be seen everyday, not just a few times a year.
 

Towards_the_gap

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Pusser said:
I just don't get it.  Why do people want to wear somebody else's medals?  I really don't think it matters whether you wear them on the left side or the right side.  Many people don't understand the distinction and will think they belong to the wearer.  I don't buy the argument that they can worn in honour of someone else.  It's not much of a memorial if there is no explanation, so unless you're wearing a picture and a card telling others who is being honoured, I don't see it.  I can't help but feel that many folks want to participate in the renewed popularity of veterans nowadays and want to try and live vicariously through their ancestors.  I think the best way to honour your ancestors is to mount the medals properly, and display them on your wall where they can be seen everyday, not just a few times a year.

Agreed. Would never dream of wearing either of my grandfathers WWII medals. Simply put, they ain't mine! I may only have two but at least my name and service number are engraved on em.
 

cupper

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Pusser said:
I just don't get it.  Why do people want to wear somebody else's medals?

I think that some people look at it as a way of remembering their loved one's contribution. However misguided the thought may be, some have an honourable intention. But they don't understand that the medals are earned, and the meaning behind earning any given medal is special to those who have earned them.

(Not to say that some medals are "earned" just by being good at CYA ;D)

I know when my dad passes, I would like to put them up in a display, but I would never consider wearing them as an honour to him, simply because it was he that earned them. (Grant you all that he received in his career was a CD w/ Bar, the SJ and the SSM w/ NATO bar) But still, it was a part of what he earned during his career, and should be displayed in manner that is appropriate, without lessening the meaning.
 

Michael OLeary

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cupper said:
I think that some people look at it as a way of remembering their loved one's contribution. However misguided the thought may be, some have an honourable intention. But they don't understand that the medals are earned, and the meaning behind earning any given medal is special to those who have earned them.

I wouldn't call it misguided, there are places where it is done (according to specific guidelines) and I wouldn't want to denigrate their rites of Remembrance simply because they don't align with ours.

Current Canadian regulations and law say it's not done, and I'm OK with that. But if someone wants to have the law changed, I would hope that the leading edge is very specific direction on what is and is not allowed. I would also expect that both the Government and those Veterans' groups that claim themselves to be in front of Remembrance activities would work very hard at ensuring their promotional activities include an annual educational campaign, not only on the changed regulation, but also on the wide variety of medals that citizens might then see. The outcome could be better awareness of the wide participation of Canadians in our military history, and a better understanding of what they did. Done right, it could be a beneficial change. Done poorly, it would be an embarrassment to all involved.

 

Infanteer

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Wouldn't that be a frontpage story - a veteran's widow in cuffs for wearing her husband's medals on Remembrance Day.... :facepalm:
 

Pat in Halifax

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I had a second issue of dad's medals (older brother has the originals) court mounted and got a cap badge from his unit (Hasty Ps) and had a tally made with YOS, SN etc and built them into a nice oak box. It proudly hangs in the front entrance way to home (right beside my "Home is where the Navy sends you" plaque) for all friends and family to see upon entering. On Remembrance Day, and BOA Sunday, I carry a picture of him as well as his original beret in the inside left breast pocket of my tunic. That's enough for me. He is my hero; it is not my intent to try to sell him as yours.
 

Journeyman

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Michael O'Leary said:
...and those Veterans' groups that claim themselves to be in front of Remembrance activities would work very hard....
That would be these people?  ::)

If their track record, and other opinions on them posted, are any indication, I think we both know the outcome of their "hard work" -- leave the law as it stands.
 

Pusser

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Michael O'Leary said:
I wouldn't call it misguided, there are places where it is done (according to specific guidelines) and I wouldn't want to denigrate their rites of Remembrance simply because they don't align with ours.

Current Canadian regulations and law say it's not done, and I'm OK with that. But if someone wants to have the law changed, I would hope that the leading edge is very specific direction on what is and is not allowed. I would also expect that both the Government and those Veterans' groups that claim themselves to be in front of Remembrance activities would work very hard at ensuring their promotional activities include an annual educational campaign, not only on the changed regulation, but also on the wide variety of medals that citizens might then see. The outcome could be better awareness of the wide participation of Canadians in our military history, and a better understanding of what they did. Done right, it could be a beneficial change. Done poorly, it would be an embarrassment to all involved.

Unfortunately, therein lies the rub.  I have absolutely no faith that it will be done right.  In fact, my educated guess (based on years of observation of such things) would be that it would be done drastically wrong.  There are so many misconceptions out there on military customs and traditions that adding another element to the mix will only make it worse.
 
J

jollyjacktar

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Pusser, my Dad died on the 2nd of Nov.  I took his miniatures with me that 11th as he could not be there himself.  I was still grieving for him and it made me feel closer to him at that time.  Perhaps, that is why someone would want to wear an ancestor's medals on the right breast as is done in some countries.  If you don't feel the need, well that is all well and good for you.  Maybe what makes your clockwork mechanism go whirr is not what will make the next man/woman's go whirr.  Funny, everyone being an individual eh?
 

Fishbone Jones

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The way I see it is, it's not up to us to decide how a family member wishes to honour their departed hero. It's up to them.

If I see a ten year old daughter of a departed service member wearing their medals on the right side of her coat, I am not going to take issue with it.

I dare any one of you to tell her to remove them, or call the police to enforce the law.

If you're willing to let her do it, you have to let every family member, no matter the age or gender do it, if they wish. If their heart is pure and their intentions genuine, it's none of my business and I say 'Good on them' for perpetuating the memory of a dear departed one that has served their country honourably and been willing to step up to the plate when so many others weren't.

Let them relish in their pride, for their departed and loved Serviceperson, one day a year, without a bunch of meddaling busybodies to ruin the memory for them and, probably, keep them away from the services, totally soured from the experience, from that day on.

 

cupper

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:goodpost:

You've given me pause for thought, to think again about my previous post.
 

the 48th regulator

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recceguy said:
The way I see it is, it's not up to us to decide how a family member wishes to honour their departed hero. It's up to them.

If I see a ten year old daughter of a departed service member wearing their medals on the right side of her coat, I am not going to take issue with it.

I dare any one of you to tell her to remove them, or call the police to enforce the law.

If you're willing to let her do it, you have to let every family member, no matter the age or gender do it, if they wish. If their heart is pure and their intentions genuine, it's none of my business and I say 'Good on them' for perpetuating the memory of a dear departed one that has served their country honourably and been willing to step up to the plate when so many others weren't.

Let them relish in their pride, for their departed and loved Serviceperson, one day a year, without a bunch of meddaling busybodies to ruin the memory for them and, probably, keep them away from the services, totally soured from the experience, from that day on.

This is the the best post of this whole thread.  I wholeheartedly agree 100% with RG.

Some people must get off of their stuffy views of the world, and realize that there are more people with good intention, than there is those with nefarious ones.

dileas

tess
 

SeaKingTacco

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So how then would you like to deal with the poser who shows up at the Legion, rack full of medals that he bought on the interweb, claiming to have been in every battle from Vimy to Panjwi?

Do you enforce the law only when you don't have a soft spot for someone?
 

Fishbone Jones

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SeaKingTacco said:
So how then would you like to deal with the poser who shows up at the Legion, rack full of medals that he bought on the interweb, claiming to have been in every battle from Vi my to Panic?

Do you enforce the law only when you don't have a soft spot for someone?

Are you that ignorant of our missions that you could not question him, out him and degrade him? Our military isn't that big, that most of us don't know someone who hasn't 'been there'. Our missions are not that complicated. There are a ton of questions, from arms, vehicles and other equipment to uniforms and chains of command, that trip up posers. Most times the fact that they know they don't have the answers are enough to put them off doing it again.

You'll never be able to stop every Walt. That's not what this is about,

Letting families honour their kin is what it's about. Having pride in what they did and accomplished is what it's about. Letting them grieve and heal is what it's about. Letting the survivors boast that they had a hero in their family is what it's about.

Catching the 1 in 100,000 poser, who takes this away and makes it a mockery, is NOT what this is about

Pretty easy to gather that 10 year old girl as, a poser, wasn't. She knew everywhere her granddad had been and what his medals were for ;)

She was also under no illusion why we held a Remembrance Day or what significance her Grandfather played in it.

She wore his medals proudly, without malice or ulterior motive.

You can't put an age restriction on that.

Be a tough guy and tell her to take them off.

If I'm there, I'll politely take you aside, out of ears reach, and tell you you're an asshole.
 
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