THE MEDAL

LA MEDAILLE

By age 12 I must have had redeeming qualities. During the last week of sixth grade a small graying man in a navy blue uniform and cap came into our classroom and talked quietly with the teacher. She called us to attention. “Students, this is a representative from the American Legion, whose members have fought in wars to safeguard our country. He is here to give out an award.” None of us had heard of such an award, but when he began a little speech about the medal representing courage, character, service, companionship and scholarship, we were all solemn. “This award is given to the person most representing these qualities as you leave elementary school for middle school. This year’s recipient is Julie Howard.” I was stunned. In retrospect the whole idea was silly. I had never heard of half those words, and at that age the medal caused envy among friends, not admiration. Still, that little medal, with all those character traits engraved on it, has never gone missing. I found it the other day in the back of my desk drawer.



Par l’âge de 12 ans, j’ai du avoir des qualités me rachetant. Pendant la dernière semaine du sixième, un petit homme aux cheveux gris en uniforme bleu marine avec une casquette entra dans notre salle de classe et échangea des mots avec notre institutrice. Elle nous a adressé, “Mes élèves, ce monsieur représente la Légion d’Amérique, dont les membres ont combattu dans des guerres pour sauvegarder notre pays. Il est ici pour remettre un prix.” Aucun d’entre nous n’avait entendu parler d’une telle chose. Quand il s’est mis à décrire la médaille, nous expliquant qu’elle représentait le “courage, caractère, service, l’amitié et l’étude” nous nous sommes tous sentis sérieux. “Cette médaille est décernée à l’individu qui représente le mieux ces qualités. La lauréate cette année s’appelle Julie Howard.” J’étais étonnée. Quand j’y pense, l’idée de décerner un tel prix à un écolier de 12 ans était bête, ne causant que l’envie parmi mes amies. Néanmoins, cette petite médaille, avec tous ces traits de caractère gravés dessus, n’a jamais fugué. Je l’ai trouvé l’autre jour au fond du tiroir de mon bureau.

6 thoughts on “THE MEDAL

  1. Gosh, Julie, what a find! I am so pleased you have come across it again as a firm reminder of the person you really are. Someone recognised your qualities early on – well done on that too!

    Like

  2. WOW, Mama!!! How come you never shared *this* story, that I can remember?!?! Pretty Wonderful…!!! (OK, you are ‘redeemed,’ haha)!! But I do agree with your assessment, that this could have caused some envy among such very young classmates-! Serious test of character/s! But worth it, since you’ve saved this medal…!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fun memory, among so many putting thumb on scale of my rascality….yes, there is that little
    medal, the only one I’ve ever won. But come on….character at 12? Scholarship? I was
    young, but remember being quite pleased…

    Like

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