Aug 042017

Photo from Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

by John Donnelly…….

“Purple Heart Day” in the United States is celebrated on August 7th.

The Purple Heart Medal is awarded under the most adversarial of circumstances. Many recipients are never presented with their award as their next of kin receives it posthumously, because the individual honoree was “Killed In Action”.

Other members of the Armed Forces awarded the Purple Heart are those “Wounded In Action”.

United States Marines were brutally killed and savagely wounded under my watch. Their grotesquely mangled bodies were beyond anything I had ever experienced. Those surviving the initial impact of their wounds agonized in anticipation of being Medivacked.

Aggressively engaging an enemy requires well-trained and skilled combatants willing to advance and expose themselves to enemy fire. Moving forward against these threats requires courage, valor and steadfastness.

Seeking to secure a Purple Heart License Plate in Florida, I was told by a staffer from Governor Lawton Chiles’ office that “combat wounded veterans” should not be recognized with a specialized license plate; because it was their mistakes during battle that got themselves wounded or killed.

Because of their carelessness, they were not deserving of a specialized Purple Heart tag. And if a plate were to be developed for this category of veteran, it should be termed the “Mistake Plate”.

The rationale behind this staffer’s logic was exposed and widely publicized. After a 10 year fight for this license plate, the idiocy of his statements rapidly ushered passage of this legislation in 1992. Monroe County’s venerated State Representative Ron Saunders was instrumental in finalizing this bill into law.

My family is marked by three successive generations’ of Purple Heart recipients.

The blood offerings and sacrifices made by members of our Armed Forces must never be pointlessly taken for granted. It’s imperative that our “Civilian Leaders” are held accountable and answerable to the families of those slaughtered in combat.

Resolving differences can be negotiated diplomatically. Killing isn’t always required.

Purple Heart insignia’s displayed on apparel, license plates and postage stamps; memorialize and distinguish the sacrifices of those “veterans who’ve never returned home”. They commemorate the forgotten combatant’s silent and unacknowledged voice, stifled  by the horror and battlefield wounds they’ve endured.

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John Donnelly
John Donnelly, a resident of Key Largo was born, raised and went to high school in the South Bronx. Upon graduation he was awarded several scholarships to college. He chose to enlist in the United Sates Marine Corps. While serving in Vietnam John was wounded in action. He received two meritorious promotions, one during combat. Upon discharge and return to America, John had a difficult time transitioning back into civilian life. He found himself homeless for the next 4 years. As he worked out some troublesome concerns, he began to yearn to make some sense of his experiences via education. He sought and received his GI Bill benefits. He later graduated frpm the University of Miami on the President’s Honor Roll. While working at a Maximum Security Prison Facility for criminally insane adolescents, he earned a Master of Science degree from Florida International University.
More Articles by John Donnelly prior to November, 2014.
 August 4, 2017  Posted by at 12:36 am Issue #230, John Donnelly  Add comments

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