Those are words I have often heard from other veterans and legion members, if you didn’t earn it you can’t wear it. Now, I agree if a person in uniform or perhaps legion blazer wears a medal not earned, yes that is wrong. Anyone wearing a medal on his/her left breast to which they are not entitled to is of course wrong. That is known as stolen valour.
However, if a blood relative wears his/her late loved ones medal on the right breast to a Remembrance Day Ceremony. How can we say that is wrong or stolen valour. Allow me to give you an example of things that happened during WW2. I lived in Ireland and England during the blitz. I was young but still have vivid memories of spending nights in airraid shelters. I remember wearing my gas mask in drills at school. One thing in particular that stands out in my memory was the Telegram Boy. I remember because I saw them often, and liked their uniforms and bicycles, I wanted to be one, but alas was too young. When did I see them ? every time one rode into a street, news sweep through the street in seconds. Mothers and wives stood nervously on door steps praying the boy would cycle passed. If he stopped it meant he was delivering a telegram. A telegram no one wanted to receive. The message in that telegram was one of three things. “We regret to inform you of the death of……..Or we regret to inform you of private … missing in action. The final and perhaps the best news was, Regret to inform you private…..is a prisoner of war. If you can imagine the dreadful fear that engulfed those poor mothers and wives. Had they lost a son, had they lost a husband and father. Who has the right to say they have not earned the right to wear those medals in remembrance?. War touched us all back then, many homeless, hungry, sick, bereaved, scared and we were all war weary. Having lived through those terrible times, I find it difficult for anyone to deny a relative the right to wear their loved ones medals as a act of remembrance.. I have repeatedly stated, those who disagree don’t have to participate, but don’t deny those who wish to wear these medals. The Legion could request to the courts that section 419 of the criminal code be amended. Yet, all I ever get from the Legion is to be ignored. I truly struggle to understand their obstinate attitude. Most of these legion members are not veterans, but they parade wearing numerous legion produced medals on their right breast. These legion medals are readily approved but a mother wearing her late sons medals is breaking the law! To date, no one at the legion has been able to clearly justified why this okay.
God Bless and keep reading