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A Sad Silver Star

We all know that the Silver Star is one of the United States’ highest awards for valor. Actually the third highest combat only award. To earn one of these a soldier in combat has to be very brave and very lucky. The brave part is understood but one must also be lucky enough to have a witness to the act of bravery who also survives the battle and is able to report the act of valor in such a way that the act is recognized and rewarded with the Silver Star. Silver Stars are very popular with collectors because all the awarded ones are named on the back and therefore researchable. Illustrated below is a very sad example of an early WWII issue Silver Star that has had the original owner’s name filed off! I have seen this sort of thing on British medals but rarely on American medals. Why was this done? I can only guess that the original owner fell on hard times after he left the service and had to sell his medals. He probably filed off his own name out of a sense of shame for having had to sell his precious medals or maybe he feared that some pretender could assume his identity. It is sad that one of our nations heroes had to sell his medals. It is tragic that he destroyed the only historical monument to his own heroism and that now we will never know who he was or what he did to earn this Silver Star.