I got framed.
And the person who framed me was none other than my son, Nicholas.
He framed all my medals from my enlistment in the US Army more than 50 years ago including my service in the Vietnam War.
I had a shadow box displaying the medals in the foyer of my home. It was small and contained no photographs. My son, who works part-time at Coll’s Custom Framing & Gallery in Conshohocken, PA, suggested that he enlarge the box and include a picture of me in the war zone.
It took him eight hours to complete the project having to cut and trim a unique piece of wood that is black in color and looks a lot like steel. It has nails in the back and screws in the front. In addition, Nick spent more than an hour inserting a particular type of glass called “conservation glass.” It prevents UV damage to items inside the frame itself.
I am particularly proud of the Bronze Star ribbon and medal in the upper left-hand corner of the display. In addition, there is the medal for meritorious service while on a helicopter depicted in the bottom right-hand corner. (The Air Medal shows an eagle with lightning bolts in its talons!)
You will see two of my other favorite medals which include the CIB (Combat Infantry Badge) that has a wreath around an old rifle, and the medal with “Airborne wings” for those of us who trained and served as paratroopers.
What surprised me more than anything else was the photograph he dug up and inserted into the center of the display. I am wearing no shirt, but am smiling with my Boonie hat firmly in place as I take a knee somewhere in the jungle more than 100 “klicks” or kilometers away from the city of Saigon.
I was 21 years old and in charge of a platoon of some 25 soldiers, or “grunts” as we liked to be called. So glad to have made it home in one piece.