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My 9/11 Story and the WWII 2nd Armor Medal Group


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Some time ago, as a dealer, I bought a large WWII uniform and sword group that had belonged to a highly decorated 2nd Armor officer, a DSC/DSM/SS/PH/BS etc. winner who served with the outfit throughout the entire war and went on to be a teacher at West Point.  It was wonderful stuff, and the "salad" over the pockets was impressive, three solid rows of valor and service.  But you can't keep it all...so I sold it to one of my closest friends in the UK, a huge 2nd Armor fanatic.  He was delighted with the lot...but where was that superb medal lot?  What a find that would be!

 

On researching the group, I found that the officer in question was quite successful, as was his son, who took an active interest in his father's WWII experiences.  In fact, this son had his dad's medals framed up and he hung them in his office, where he worked as a financial executive for a firm called Cantor-Fitzgerald.  On my generation's most awful day, September 11 2001, those medals hung on the wall near where the officer's son worked away at his chosen field. 

 

By the end of the day, that most horrible of days, the medals and the son were both gone, ionized into the Manhattan earth and sky, nothing left of them at all.  There will never be any medals for this lot.  But, my friend and I both feel that the lot is more important for what place that medal group holds in American History.  The father was motivated by December 7, 1941, undoubtedly.  Many years later, September 11, 2001 brought a strange closure to the story.  The medals were won because of the first tragedy and claimed by the second.  These medals, which no longer exist, are sacred.  But not just them.   

 

Sometimes, at Militaria Shows, I hear dealers ripping on other dealers, trashing them out of jealousy, hurt or just plain thoughtlessness.  Or worse, as part of a plan to make a deal or get a better price.  Jockeying for position or name recognition.   I have been on the receiving end of this shameful ignorance, as many of you have also, I am sure.  But what we handle as dealers is sacred.  It has a certain value, yes, and that is important.  But we deal in the remnants of other's valor,  handle black-bordered telegrams that went out to homes all over the nation and changed or ruined lives forever in one reading.  We are responsible to be honorable people, worthy of the goods we handle.  Those incinerated medals, and the son that went down with them, altered the way I think about dealing and dealers.  This business needs heart more than money or fame. 

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