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A History of the Military and Grandpa’s WWII Award Ceremony

Our country offers those who served a great program where they can get a loan with VA loan rates, This VA loan guarantee program before 1992, was only available to those veterans serving on active duty during specified times.  In 1992 the Veterans Home Loan Program Amendments was enacted and expanded eligibility to include Reservists and National Guard personnel who served honorably for at least six years without otherwise qualifying under the previous active duty provisions.

In 1944, the United States Congress passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act. This act extended a variety of benefits to eligible veterans.
In 1950, the US Government replaced the older “WD AGO” (War Department Adjutant General) Forms and the NAVPERS (Naval Personnel) discharge documents and issued the first DD214 forms. A DD-21 4 is the complete record of a service member’s time in the military. It includes awards and medals, promotions, combat service, overseas service, Military Occupational Specialty identifiers and records of training and education.

It was the DD-214 that showed my grandfather’s enlistment and the awards he earned for serving our country.

Grandpa's WWII Medals

Grandpa’s WWII Medals

On October 7, 2007, thanks to an over-sight on the military’s part, I was fortunate enough to attend my grandfather’s award ceremony. It was casual. It was also the first time, and the last time, I saw my grandfather cry. When the awards were pinned, I asked my grandpa, “Were you drafted?”

In his firm voice, he said, “Drafted? Hell NO! I VOLUNTEERED. We all did.”

It must have triggered some memories buried deep inside because he then shared that he remembered marching across France. One morning, on the border of France and Germany, as they packed their packs in exhaustion, preparing to invade Germany, the General said, “It’s over. We’re going home.”

It was those five words that brought my grandfather to tears. I’m sure they had the same impact on him in that camp the first time he heard them. Through his tears, he repeated, “It was over.”

Grandpa Receives His WWII Awards

Grandpa Receives His WWII Awards

 I am blessed to be the first grandchild on both paternal and maternal sides. I am even more blessed to have had the opportunity to thank my grandfather for serving our country and witnessing the pinning of his awards.

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