The Red Badge of Courage

A wound, or a scar can become a badge of survival, whether it comes from battle, a brutal beating, surgery, or an ugly accident.  The Red Badge of Courage was banned in 1986 because parents complained about what books their children were learning about in English.  People didn’t like the fact that the author Stephen Crane didn’t have any prior experience from the army to write about in his story.  The red badge of courage is a bloody wound that symbolizes bravery and it is comparable to the Purple Heart medal, which has a long history in the military and this award is given to soldiers who are wounded in combat.  When a man is injured, others automatically think he fought bravely.

My dad and his buddy Falvey both broke curfew when he served in WWII and they were both forced to dig a ditch as punishment.  His Sargent drove them out to a field in a jeep and dropped them off with two shovels telling them that he would be back in six hours and that the ditch better be dug when he returned.  My dad and Falvey started digging the ditch, but a Frenchman came out and told them to stop, saying that he would dig the ditch for them, because they were fighting the Germans for him and this was the least that he could do to show his gratitude.  He jumped into the hole that they started and told them to relax.

He ordered his two lovely daughters to get refreshments for my dad and Falvey and my dad felt bad because this Frenchman was doing their punishment, but Falvey started making out with one of the girls and my dad reluctantly went along.  They sat on a fence and although they could not understand a word that the Frenchman or his daughters spoke, they had a really nice time drinking some French wine and kissing these young girls.  The Frenchman was a hard worker, so he wasn’t paying all that much attention to what his daughters were doing and he thought that the ditch had some military significance.  He finished up with time to spare and he went back to his house to get some bread and cheese to go along with the wine.

Just after the French farmer left the Sargent came back with two jeeps and he inspected the hole that they dug.  The Sargent told them to fill in the hole and then take the other jeep back to camp.  When the farmer arrived with the bread and cheese, he took the shovels away from my dad and Falvey and he said that he would fill in the hole.  My dad said that he thought that the farmer figured that they placed a mine in at the bottom of the hole.  They finished the wine, bread and cheese, they kissed both the girls goodbye, but then my dad cut his hand on the shovel loading it back into the jeep.  When my dad arrived back at the base, his Sargent asked him if he would like to be put in for a Purple Heart for his wound, but my dad said that was not necessary.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver hosted by Michael where the prompt is badges.

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