Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Purple Heart

In caring for many soldiers from a variety of units I have been the recipient of unit pins. Proudly worn on whichever scrub jacket I happen to have on that day many people have commented or questioned how I came to be the owner of them. Today as I explained I thought about the soldiers from the 82nd,the 101st and the 1st Cav just to name a few. One of my patients upon hearing this said "Clara, come here, you don't have one of these". As I watched he pulled out a flat cardboard box and proceeded to remove a navy blue case. As he opened it and began to pull things apart I started to shake my head. "No! I'm not taking that" I strigently exclaimed. He ignored me continuing his work until he had a lapel pin lose. "I want you to have this", he said. "Nope! I didn't earn it and there is no way in hell I am accepting that" was my immediate response.

It was his purple heart we were arguing over. The wounded are presented with 3 different purple hearts, the medal itself, the ribbon worn on their uniforms and then the lapel pin. It was his lapel pin he was trying to give me.

He looked at me, hand still holding the pin out and said "Clara, you get hurt too, it's just your hurt doesn't end you up here". I silently stared at him at a loss for words.

"No, I appreciate you thinking of me but I WILL NOT take that" and in an effort to end our discussion I fled the room, knowing since he was bed bound he could not follow.