Trouble updating metal of honor

It’s shaped like a star, and they were looking at the metal edges of it, like it was a weapon. “I told them exactly what it was — I said, ‘That’s my Congressional Medal of Honor.´” The man relating that story was retired Foss, 86.

I asked for it back, but they kept handing it to each other and inspecting it. His experience last month in Arizona at the international airport in Phoenix — may be the ultimate symbol of the out-of-kilter times we are going through.

He said it was for actions above and beyond the call of duty.

Granted, if bullets are on the banned list then passengers shouldn’t attempt to bring them onboard, but should bullets which have been drilled and turned into key charms — ornamental objects which clearly pose no threat to fleetingly be considered a possible threat to the safety of others?“I was right fresh out of combat when I was called to the White House,” he said.“FDR was behind his desk, and he pinned the medal on my uniform.We are so afraid of terrorists in our midst that what happened to Foss is not only believable, but perhaps even inevitable: The Congressional Medal of Honor will be taken from its recipient because it looks vaguely ominous.I spoke with Foss because I wanted to hear it from him directly.“They just kept passing it around there were eight or nine or ten of them who handled it before it was over,” he said.“They had found it in my pocket at the airport, and they thought it was suspicious. But they thought they must have something potentially dangerous here.The screeners took both of them from Foss — traveling during these nervous days with items that look like bullets, or with even a small knife, will, and should, invite scrutiny. (America West Airlines, in whose terminal in Phoenix the incident allegedly took place, said through a spokeswoman shortly after the misunderstanding that the airline’s objective is to ensure safety and security for all passengers and employees.) “I want you to know,” Foss told me, “that I don’t go around wearing my Medal of Honor, or carrying it with me.The only reason I had it with me on this flight was that I was supposed to give a speech to a class at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and I thought the medal was something the cadets might be interested in seeing.” I asked him what he remembered about being presented the Congressional Medal of Honor.Unfortunately, Joe Foss didn’t have much time to ponder the rationale behind new airline travel restrictions after his January 2002 experience.The President, in the name of Congress, has awarded more than 3,400 Medals of Honor to our nation's bravest Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen since the decoration's creation in 1861. Senate ordered the citations be compiled and printed as a Committee on Veterans' Affairs report. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs Report, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1978 (Washington, D. For awards made after 1978, the citations are taken either from the CRS Report for Congress: Medal of Honor Recipients: 1979-2008 dated 4 June 2008, or in some cases, from the citations officially released and published at the time of award by the White House; U. Army Human Resources Command, Awards and Decorations Branch ([email protected]); or the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

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