Tag Archives: Mark Meadows

Patriotism: I’m overwhelmed

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The great Beverly Elliott at Congressman Mark Meadows field office in Murphy NC was able to nudge the Navy guys in Millington TN sufficiently that dad’s list of medals and then the medals themselves were provided. I had been unsuccessful for decades, but she was able to do this straightaway. Ms Elliott didn’t like just giving them to me, so she offered to get hold of a guy in Waynesville NC who makes shadow boxes for medals of decorated veterans pro-bono, and then said that she’ll try to get Mark over so that these could be presented a bit more officially. I love that. Dad, post-mortem, will be able to encourage a bit of patriotism in these USA. We need that always and especially today.

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I tried to place the medals in order of precedence. Note the double issuance of the first two medals as signified by the stars on the ribbons, and the triple issuance of the last medal as signified by the two stars on the ribbon of that medal. I’ve written of the first three medals in generalities:

Ms Elliott said that she’s going to try to get the stories of the particular circumstances for the issuance of the first number of medals as recommended by the POTUS of the day.

The above medals are issued by these USA. There are three other medals issued by the Philippines, Korea and even the United Nations – Hey! – the back-in-the-day-U.N.!

 

Patriotism is a virtue of the natural law and is blessed by God. Speaking of God, my best memory of dad is when I was only a few years old and was able to walk up the aisle of the Cathedral church to kneel at the linen-covered altar rail with him at Communion time. I’ve written of this before:

My favorite memory of him was back in the Autumn of 1962, when I was just 2 1/2 years old. I’d walk up in the Communion line next to him with the rest of the family behind us. This was at the Cathedral with its gorgeous altar rail with the linens flipped over the top. I was always impressed by the linens getting flipped over the top, just as I was with kneeling there beside my dad, reaching up as high as I could to put my hands under the linens like he was doing. I was pretty small. I was filled with such wonder and awe and reverence as the priest and altar boy with paten would make it over to us. They would start on the Epistle side. We were always on the Gospel side. Everything worked together to instill reverence.

It was good be on my knees with dad before the Lord Jesus. Very good.

Why mention that in this post on the medals of a highly decorated war hero? Because here we have a warrior on his knees, in reverence, before The Warrior, Jesus, in the epic battle of good over evil, God over Satan. And dad is with Jesus. I love that.

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Dad the hero: I don’t know the half of it Thanks NC Rep Mark Meadows & Bev!

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I’ve never met the Honorable Mark Meadows or Beverly, but they are now family as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been trying to get something about dad’s wartime years for decades, it all having disappeared in the vicissitudes of life. No one could get anything, not even friends of friends working the archives. But Rep. Meadows and Bev were successful. The first notification, the listing of medals, came in just now. I hope there is more available. Obviously, I don’t know the half of it. My patriotism is confirmed again.

I am overwhelmed. This is all quite the revelation to me. I’d like to write some posts about those medals against the backdrop of the man I knew as dad. But below is just my first overall reaction to my dad, the hero. He didn’t get the Medal of Honor, but on multiple other occasions he almost did with another four medals just below the Medal of Honor a couple of which are exceedingly rare for field officers who are not Generals. He didn’t get a medal for a record number of planes shot down as a fighter-attack pilot, but some of the missions he was given were obviously freakishly important, with the success of some part of the war effort, in no small part, riding on whether he would be successful. He got a Battle-Wounded Purple Heart. And, I only find out now, he was also in the Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign. I had thought he was all Pacific based. What special mission did they spirit him away to do way outside of his normal theater of operations, and then back again?

Part I: the spirituality of integrity, of being a hero

  • On the one hand, my dad wasn’t perfect. I know that. I’ve seen him at his worst. I’m his son. Have any of us seen ourselves at our own worst, admitting that, dealing with it, coming around, being the best because of depending on our Lord, because of knowing we can’t depend on ourselves?
  • So, on the other hand, I’ve also seen dad at his best, when he learned, successfully, to depend only on our Lord. He’s always been the hero in my eyes because of victory in his personal life. In that way, he’s my example of integrity. I still remember going to the 1962 Mass with him in the early 1960s: he would smack his heart with his fist at the Confiteor: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Part II: The instruction about my dad, the hero

Top Brass and politicians were often over to my dad’s house, George Byers Jr. There I would be, the little boy naive to the warring ways of the world. More times than I can count, they would take me aside, have me sit down, and have “The Talk” with me. “The Talk” consisted of seriously looking me in the eye and then, when I was paying serious attention, they would instruct me about my dad being a great hero, that there were a lot of things which for a thousand reasons could not be told, but I had to know that my dad was a great, great hero, and that it was an honor for me to be his son.

This one or that would write a book. This one or that would recount war stories. But they would never ask my dad for the same. They already knew his story as these things get around by witnesses who survived to tell the tale. They knew he could never say a word with any non-combatant like me around, little boy that I was.

What I don’t have…

While the generic description of why any medal is what it is is widely available, there is also a story recounted for specific medals given to specific individuals for specific actions, especially ones which are recommended only by the President of these USA. I don’t have the stories. I wish I did…

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