A Story With (Purple) Heart

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Regarding "Photo Gallery: Purple Heart" [usnews.com ]: To each of the 20 soldiers from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom that received Purple Hearts - congratulations!

I personally salute you for a job well done in earning - your Purple Heart. How appropriate, furthermore, that it be awarded by a General officer. I got one myself while fighting in the Philippine Islands during World War II. During my hospital stay, a war attendant, probably a corporal, was making his usual rounds, stocking our small nightstand. Required medications and supplies were placed there to be used during the night as needed. Before departing my area, he thoughtfully asked, "You Lt. Whalen?" To which I grunted in a semi-audible voice, "Yeah." Thereupon he fumbled rather clumsily among the contents on the lower shelf of his medical supply cart. "Well then, I think this is for you," he proudly proclaimed. Then, with complete demeanor, he deftly placed between my cup of very warm water and the ever present and always needed urinal, my coveted Purple Heart.

Walter C. Whalen

Timonium , Md.