This is my grandfather’s Purple Heart. I didn’t know it still existed — my grandparents were burglarized in the early ‘80’s and cleaned out of most family treasures, but Paige and Carl found it.
My grandfather was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge. He was shot in combat — the bullet went through the front of his helmet and out the back, and he lived to tell the tale. The helmet used to sit on his mantle, and he let us take it down and play with it, warning us not to cut our fingers on the sharp, metallic exit hole.
I always thought it would be mine, since I am the oldest grandchild, but something even better happened. After his death it was commissioned by the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, Georgia, where it is on display today. I was disappointed, but I soon realized that is where it belongs.
My grandfather was a hero. He actually lived to see both me and my brother get married and to meet Carl’s children. I love having the opportunity to honor him, and I really love that people visiting the museum hear his story every day.