War – And The Wonderful Heroes That Rise Up To Protect Us!
Faulkner listens, just before receiving the Purple Heart
Saturday March 8, 2014
89-year-old WW2 veteran, Richard Faulkner just received the Purple Heart after declining it seventy years ago, in 1944.
And the award was presented to Faulkner before nearly 100 people, including family and friends.
Faulkner Was The Only Survivor
Richard Faulkner was the only survivor of a mid-air collision over occupied France, when the B-17 bomber in which he was flying collided with an allied aircraft that sliced his plane in two.
Friendly Fire Is Always The Saddest!
Everyone aboard the B-17 died except for the then-19-year-old Faulkner.
Faulkner parachuted to safety out of the plane’s gun turret.
Rescue And The French Resistance
Faulkner was wounded and quickly hidden in a hayloft by a patriot farmer.
French resistance fighters reported his whereabouts to the allies and he soon found himself on a British torpedo bomber intended to return him to safety.
The Purple Heart
The British torpedo bomber later came under attack by German aircraft, and Faulkner took up gunner duties to replace a man who had been killed by enemy fire.
Falkner made it to Britain in April 1944, after a month behind enemy lines, and was offered the Purple Heart, but declined it.
He found it difficult he said.
"It’s just unbelievable that they all died and I didn’t".
Survivor’s Guilt Or Syndrome
* Survivor’s guilt (or survivor’s syndrome) is a mental condition that occurs when a person perceives themselves to have done wrong by surviving a traumatic event when others did not. It may be found among survivors of combat, natural disasters, epidemics, among the friends and family of those who have committed suicide, and in non-mortal situations such as among those whose colleagues are laid off.
Why Faulkner Finally Accepted The Award
According to his daughter-in-law, Mary Ellen Faulkner, about a year ago,
"Richard apparently began to regret his decision, because he wanted something that would allow his grandchildren to remember his military service".
So Mary Ellen contacted Faulkner’s congressman, Dan Maffei, D-N.Y., whose office soon determined that Faulkner was still eligible for the medal.
At The Award Ceremony
"To me, meeting Mr. Faulkner is like meeting a hero from history, but live in the flesh",
Congressman Maffei said.
Faulkner declined to speak after receiving the award, and simply told Maffei, "Thanks".
The Purple Heart
The Purple Heart is the oldest military award still given to U.S. service members.
And was originally established as the Badge of Military Merit by George Washington in 1782