As a veteran, I took umbrage at the Sun Journal’s (April 25) categorization of Thomas Holmes’ campaign or expeditionary medals as Bronze Stars (one of the highest awards for valor that can be bestowed on a soldier). The medal hanging from the red ribbon in the photograph was a large star.
A campaign or expeditionary medal is given to all military personnel who serve in a particular theater during a specific time. Those have nothing to do with how, or even if, one served in combat — cooks and paper pushers get the same medal just for being there for the allotted time, usually 60 days or more.
The Sun Journal photographer, or an editor, not being a veteran, would not know that the tiny star(s) on the ribbons is a bronze campaign star, which signifies that the wearer was in the given theater for at least one period; two stars for two tours; three, etc.
There is a vast difference between being in a campaign, or even wounded in battle (for which one gets a Purple Heart), and a Bronze Star for heroic service, generally beyond the call of duty.
Please understand that this is in no way meant to disparage Thomas Holmes’ contribution to the war effort. Rather, it is to honor the rare recipients of the Bronze Star.
Richard Fochtmann, Leeds

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