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An ethical question

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Offline  An ethical question
#1

Posted: September 08, 2018, 10:23 PM Post
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Posts: 1502
My grandfather was in WWII and received some medals and ribbons. When he had cancer he had given an extended married into the family all but one of the medals as a thank you for taking him to radiation treatments. I have one of the medals that has my grandfathers name on it, but the other items are long gone. I've asked the people that are still living if they might have the medals, but they don't.

The ethical question is... Should I buy the missing medals or not? They would not be the actual medal that my grandfather would have gotten. The only people that would know they are not the same medals/ribbons are my wife and I.


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Offline  Re: An ethical question
#2

Posted: September 08, 2018, 11:02 PM Post
Posts: 289
Are you doing this as a family keepsake honoring his service? If you are, that would fine as long as it was an accurate representation of what he was awarded.


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Offline  Re: An ethical question
#3

Posted: September 08, 2018, 11:10 PM Post
Posts: 172
Location: Washburn, WI
BrewersSuperCollector said:
My grandfather was in WWII and received some medals and ribbons. When he had cancer he had given an extended married into the family all but one of the medals as a thank you for taking him to radiation treatments. I have one of the medals that has my grandfathers name on it, but the other items are long gone. I've asked the people that are still living if they might have the medals, but they don't.

The ethical question is... Should I buy the missing medals or not? They would not be the actual medal that my grandfather would have gotten. The only people that would know they are not the same medals/ribbons are my wife and I.


I personally would just keep the one medal and not buy any to replace the other ones. You and your family can cherish the one medal you do have and share fond memories of him through the one that he earned and that you still have in your possession. Your family will be proud of him and what he did whether he had one medal/ribbon or many others. Issues could arise down the road amongst your family and your children could lose trust in you in general if they learned that the other medals/ribbons were bought later on. Not only could they have a difficult time discussing other real life issues down the road with you, but they might always wonder what else you’ve told them growing up that might be untrue. Being genuine with what you do have is the best way to go.


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Offline  Re: An ethical question
#4

Posted: September 08, 2018, 11:51 PM Post
Posts: 289
Understand that position Rollie, depends on how BSC is doing it. If he has his grandfathers discharge papers that list his awards and replaces them accordingly, he would be OK doing that. If he is guessing, based on say a photo, that's where your point could become relevant.


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Offline  Re: An ethical question
#5

Posted: September 09, 2018, 4:57 AM Post
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I understand that some people are more interested in military procedures and dignity than I am. I never served, so the specific medals and awards aren't as meaningful to me.

In the interest of preserving family heirlooms, I think either way is fine. A photo display with the one authentic medal can be meaningful and tell his story just fine. If you want to pursue buying the "missing" medals, that's ok, too. But I don't think it's necessary to honor his memory or legacy.


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Online  Re: An ethical question
#6

Posted: September 09, 2018, 5:01 AM Post
Posts: 9625
To me it feels weird to get medals that aren’t his...just me personally. I don’t think it is necessary. Unless there is a way to get replacements through the military I would just pass.

I don’t think it is really unethical if you do it though.


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Offline  Re: An ethical question
#7

Posted: September 09, 2018, 5:15 AM Post
Posts: 15504
This may be helpul to you. Good luck.

https://www.komando.com/cool-sites/7983 ... and-medals


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Offline  Re: An ethical question
#8

Posted: September 09, 2018, 6:31 AM Post
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The military will issue replacement medals if you are Next of Kin.

https://www.archives.gov/personnel-reco ... ations#nok

The only service which recognizes grandchildren as NOK is the US Army, and in that case it only applies to the eldest. Anyone else is considered a member of the general public.

My wife displays one of her grandfather's medals in a shadow box in our house and it is a nice way to honor his memory. Everytime someone new visits they ask and it gives her a chance to talk about him.


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Offline  Re: An ethical question
#9

Posted: September 12, 2018, 1:54 PM Post
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I'd lean toward authenticity, and stick to the medal that you know was issued to your grandfather. (Disclaimer: I work in a history organization and that is what we would generally do.) If you have a photo of him with all the medals he had, that would be a reasonable accompaniment to the lone known-to-be-surviving medal.

Having said that, I don't think it would be an ethical sin to purchase similar medals issued to others, as long as you make sure people realize they aren't the pieces your grandfather owned.
If medal replacement from the military is workable, that'd be the better option.

As an aside, the komando dot com link above is the first time I've even seen Kim Komando. She looks a lot like my mental picture of her.

Remember: the Brewers never panic like you do.


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Offline  Re: An ethical question
#10

Posted: September 12, 2018, 2:10 PM Post
Posts: 2293
Location: Team Tosa
I'd personally just keep the one medal that you have and cherish that. I don't want to call the replaced medals "replicas" because I'm sure they would be authentic, but they would be his "replicas," ya know?


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Offline  Re: An ethical question
#11

Posted: September 12, 2018, 8:48 PM Post
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Posts: 1502
I've decided that I'm going to try and get replacements from the US Army. I have complete understand why sports athletes sell their personal achievements rather that passing them down. Its much easier to split the money.

I love researching and I loved researching the collectibles of Brewers players both the old minor league Brewers and the current Brewers franchise. I've had a few other Brewers historians pass away in recent years and their wealth of knowledge basically lost. I came to the realization the Brewers themselves don't care about their own history. I'm not going to stop collecting.


My father passed away 12 years ago, and little was known about his side of the family. I started out my quest trying to put a face to every name. My father had a large box of pictures, and I asked my sister what she wanted. She took maybe five pictures in all, and I took the rest.

Now, here we are in the past 6 years I've made it my mission to make a book for my children on the family history as a wedding gift( I have time as my kids are 10 and 12). I've spent thousands of hours researching, emailing, and visiting family members. I've scanned family pictures from as many relatives that would let me scan them. I've documented who is on each picture that I have. I've made duplicate copies for each of my children.


I've decided to try and get replacements, but with the US Army there are hoops to jump through. Other than the veterans mother, father, and spouse who are long deceased, only the eldest child or eldest grandchild can request the medals. I am neither of those people. I have talked to my aunt who is the eldest child and she will help me out. I know if either my sister or my cousin find out about the medals they are going to want some too (they don't know the medals even existed).


I recommend for everyone to write the names of who is in each picture on the back. As generations pass away no one is going to know. We may be the generation who takes the most pictures, but 75 years from now our grandchildren will have no idea who most of the people are.


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Offline  Re: An ethical question
#12

Posted: September 15, 2018, 4:02 PM Post
Posts: 4239
I don't really think either way is wrong but just some food for thought. Things that get passed down from generation to generation also have the stories that go along with it. If someone a generation or so from now have the metals cleaned or what not and find out some are not original it may make them question the stories behind them. Speaking for myself that would be worse than not having the metals anymore.

There needs to be a King Thames version of the bible.


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Offline  Re: An ethical question
#13

Posted: September 22, 2018, 9:46 AM Post
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As a veteran, there is no ethical issue with this, stipulation being that you purchase/acquire decorations that he has earned. I made a shadow box for my FIL and bought new decs for it.

It is the act that was performed for the medal that is meaningful, the medal itself not so much, IMO.

Often, in today’s military, the medal that is pinned on in ceremony is reused.

With the exception of a few, medals are rather meaningless, and are glamorized by film.


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Offline  Re: An ethical question
#14

Posted: September 24, 2018, 4:06 PM Post
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Posts: 15117
BrewersSuperCollector said:
I've decided that I'm going to try and get replacements from the US Army. I have complete understand why sports athletes sell their personal achievements rather that passing them down. Its much easier to split the money.

I love researching and I loved researching the collectibles of Brewers players both the old minor league Brewers and the current Brewers franchise. I've had a few other Brewers historians pass away in recent years and their wealth of knowledge basically lost. I came to the realization the Brewers themselves don't care about their own history. I'm not going to stop collecting.


My father passed away 12 years ago, and little was known about his side of the family. I started out my quest trying to put a face to every name. My father had a large box of pictures, and I asked my sister what she wanted. She took maybe five pictures in all, and I took the rest.

Now, here we are in the past 6 years I've made it my mission to make a book for my children on the family history as a wedding gift( I have time as my kids are 10 and 12). I've spent thousands of hours researching, emailing, and visiting family members. I've scanned family pictures from as many relatives that would let me scan them. I've documented who is on each picture that I have. I've made duplicate copies for each of my children.


I've decided to try and get replacements, but with the US Army there are hoops to jump through. Other than the veterans mother, father, and spouse who are long deceased, only the eldest child or eldest grandchild can request the medals. I am neither of those people. I have talked to my aunt who is the eldest child and she will help me out. I know if either my sister or my cousin find out about the medals they are going to want some too (they don't know the medals even existed).


I recommend for everyone to write the names of who is in each picture on the back. As generations pass away no one is going to know. We may be the generation who takes the most pictures, but 75 years from now our grandchildren will have no idea who most of the people are.

BSC, if/when you get that family history completed, I hope you will consider making a copy for the Historical Society Library (disclaimer: my employer). We receive such donations from all over the country, make them available to a wider audience for posterity's sake, and take good care of our collections. Let me know if you become interested in doing that. Thanks and good luck!

Remember: the Brewers never panic like you do.


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Offline  Re: An ethical question
#15

Posted: October 25, 2018, 4:34 AM Post
Posts: 4
Location: Atlanta, GA
MrTPlush said:
To me it feels weird to get medals that aren’t his...just me personally. I don’t think it is necessary. Unless there is a way to get replacements through the military I would just pass.

I don’t think it is really unethical if you do it though.


This. Thought about it a lot, but haven't joined this discussion because of mixed feelings.
Hope everything will be ok and they'll give you replacements.


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