Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The Hearts That Bind: Medal Makers Feel Personal Tie to Soldiers' Sacrifice
Newhouse News Service ^ | Feb. 25, 2004 | DELIA M. RIOS

Posted on 02/26/2004 4:36:16 PM PST by SandRat

TOMBALL, Texas -- The radio was on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, as it usually is, in a back finishing room of Graco Awards Inc., away from the heat of the furnace and the noise of the presses that forged the 24 karat gold plated hearts waiting that day on Brenda Hutton's worktable.

At the crest of each heart had been soldered a shield bearing George Washington's coat of arms. Oak leaves framing the shields had their green enamel coating. Purple backings were secured within the hearts.

One last step and the medal that more than any other stands for the soldier's sacrifice would be instantly recognizable. With music playing, working in a rhythm of 100 medals an hour, Hutton inserted gold profiles of Washington in his Continental Army uniform, about the length of a quarter, into each purple base.

Suddenly, people were crying. Others sat stunned. Some, distraught, left for home. "I stayed," Hutton remembers. She still had all those unfinished Purple Hearts.

"We Will Never Forget," reads a poster hanging now in that room, where the radio brought news of the terrorist attacks in New York, on the Pentagon, and on a plane lost over Pennsylvania. The deaths that day, followed by the wounded and dead out of Afghanistan and Iraq, are personal to the 60 workers at Graco Awards, ...

(Excerpt) Read more at newhouse.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: heroes; military; purplehearts
I've excerpted this story since the web page has "Click Here to Buy This Story" on it.
1 posted on 02/26/2004 4:36:17 PM PST by SandRat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Ragtime Cowgirl; Radix; HiJinx; Spiff; JackelopeBreeder; Da Jerdge; MJY1288; xzins; Calpernia; ...
Keenex Alert!
2 posted on 02/26/2004 4:37:56 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SandRat
Great post, SandRat.

Blurry screen alert!.

           

Some days I don't know whether to hug you or hit you, or send you a bill for kleenex. *g*

3 posted on 02/26/2004 5:03:31 PM PST by Ragtime Cowgirl ("(We)..come to rout out tyranny from its nest. Confusion to the enemy." - B. Taylor, US Marine)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SandRat; MJY1288; xzins; Calpernia; TEXOKIE; Alamo-Girl; windchime; Grampa Dave; anniegetyourgun; ..
The deaths that day....the wounded and dead out of Afghanistan and Iraq, are personal to the 60 workers at Graco Awards, one of only two companies with a U.S. Department of Defense contract to make Purple Hearts.

The heart-shaped medals represent a soldier whose face and name they likely will never know, but whose sacrifice they honor right down the assembly line, through 30 pairs of hands, from the first cut pieces of brass called "blanks" to the mounting of the finished medals onto gray velvet-like backings fitted into presentation boxes.

"I feel like what we're doing here, it's our heart," explains Kat Ryan, 62, who runs a hydraulic press that creates heart shapes from the blanks...

As of Feb. 24, American troops killed and wounded in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom numbered 378 and 2,703 respectively, according to the Defense Department -- each one entitled to a Purple Heart.

Margarito Espiritu, 35, who trims excess metal off the medals, can't help but wonder: "Maybe it passes through my hands."

Maybe it does.

"We want it to say to the families, `We really care and love our servicemen,"' says Janie Barrios, 56, who attaches the purple ribbon with the white borders and then boxes the medals, knowing, as she says, that "each has a personal destination."
 
 
WTC lights.jpg (52292 bytes)
 
Thank You, Graco Awards Inc.
~ God bless America's best, in uniform. ~
God bless America.
 
 
 
 

4 posted on 02/26/2004 5:28:40 PM PST by Ragtime Cowgirl ("(We)..come to rout out tyranny from its nest. Confusion to the enemy." - B. Taylor, US Marine)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: Ragtime Cowgirl; ohioWfan
A great story of those who make the Purple Heart and other medals.Having all the old Purple Hearts left from WW2 because we did not have to invade Japan may help those who don't approve of our A bombing Japan see the losses we expected with an invasion.
6 posted on 02/26/2004 5:38:02 PM PST by MEG33 (John Kerry's been AWOL for two decades on issues of National Security!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: SandRat
Good post, thanks.
7 posted on 02/26/2004 5:40:42 PM PST by Prodigal Son
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SandRat

8 posted on 02/26/2004 5:48:02 PM PST by Grim
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ragtime Cowgirl
It's why Jacque King, who handsews Medal of Honor neck drapes to strict specifications, prays for the recipient's protection as she works, hoping the award won't come posthumously -- and that the soldier, whose heroics may have earned a Purple Heart as well, survives to live a fruitful life. "I just talk to the Lord, and tell him what's on my heart," says King, whose uncle was held prisoner by the Japanese during World War II.

I think the soldiers who receive these medals would like to know this.

9 posted on 02/26/2004 6:24:20 PM PST by McGavin999 (Evil thrives when good men do nothing!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: MEG33
Having all the old Purple Hearts left from WW2 because we did not have to invade Japan may help those who don't approve of our A bombing Japan see the losses we expected with an invasion.

Maybe, but probably not.

When my son was in H.S. one of the first things that they discussed in class was the dropping of the A-Bombs and was it right. Well, he listened to the class run their mouths and finally had his fill. He asked if any of them knew what Operation Olympic was, what the total US military, Japanese military, Japanese Civilian casualties were anticipated to be for just the first wave. He pointed out that after 4 long years the folks that calculated those numbers had gotten (yuck) very good at it and gave the numbers for each category. He then asked the class how many had grandfathers in the War in the Pacific Theater. It turned out to the very ones who sounded off the loudest that it was wrong. He then shocked the class by stating "Well if they hadn't dropped the Bombs you would not have been here and given your naivety it probably would have been a good thing!"

10 posted on 02/26/2004 6:29:58 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: SandRat
Good answer.
11 posted on 02/26/2004 6:33:02 PM PST by MEG33 (John Kerry's been AWOL for two decades on issues of National Security!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: MEG33
That is a GREAT point. The revisionists will find that hard to distort.
12 posted on 02/26/2004 6:48:34 PM PST by pfflier
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: pfflier
They do.They say we overestimated what the losses would be in an invasion.

We wanted 0 losses in an invasion by then.The death toll with some of the island invasions awful.They are not old enough to remember the relief and joy on the grown ups faces when the war ended without an invasion...I am.
13 posted on 02/26/2004 6:57:03 PM PST by MEG33 (John Kerry's been AWOL for two decades on issues of National Security!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: SandRat
Bless your son, and you for raising him right, SandRat.
14 posted on 02/26/2004 8:15:15 PM PST by Ragtime Cowgirl ("(We)..come to rout out tyranny from its nest. Confusion to the enemy." - B. Taylor, US Marine)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Jammz
Bump ~*
15 posted on 02/26/2004 8:16:22 PM PST by Ragtime Cowgirl ("(We)..come to rout out tyranny from its nest. Confusion to the enemy." - B. Taylor, US Marine)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Ragtime Cowgirl
We are winning ~ the bad guys are losing ~ trolls, terrorists and the democrats are sad ~ very sad!

~~ Bush/Cheney 2004 ~~

16 posted on 02/27/2004 9:45:58 AM PST by blackie (Be Well~Be Armed~Be Safe~Molon Labe!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Bump!
17 posted on 02/27/2004 4:21:45 PM PST by windchime (Podesta about Bush: "He's got four years to try to undo all the stuff we've done." (TIME-1/22/01))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Redcoat LI
I found it by googling!
18 posted on 03/18/2004 9:26:22 PM PST by MEG33 (John Kerry's been AWOL for two decades on issues of National Security!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Skywarner; Ernest_at_the_Beach
I thought you would be interested in this story that confirms the many medals made for the invasion of Japan.
19 posted on 03/18/2004 9:36:28 PM PST by MEG33 (John Kerry's been AWOL for two decades on issues of National Security!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MEG33
Definitely! Thank you.
20 posted on 03/18/2004 9:39:35 PM PST by Skywarner (Enjoying freedom? Thank a Veteran!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: MEG33; SandRat
Thank you very much!
21 posted on 03/18/2004 9:55:14 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States - and war is what they got!!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
I am glad I found it again.
22 posted on 03/18/2004 10:04:19 PM PST by MEG33 (John Kerry's been AWOL for two decades on issues of National Security!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson