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The Medal

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"They came from the mountains, from the plains, the East coast and the West. During World War Two America was a nation on the move. People from all walks of life and different sections of the country were coming together, learning about each other's customs, exchanging ideas, and sometimes falling in love".

Standing outside the Godsey's store Mary Ellen sees a young Mexican sergeant alight from the bus and be accosted by some local louts. He defends himself and in the scuffle breaks the arm of one of his attackers. It turns out that it is Mary Ellen he has come to find, and later, at the house, he produces a letter from the President showing that her late husband Curtis has been awarded the Silver Cross medal for bravery. He hands her the medal. It transpires that he is a paratrooper and has seen action all over the world, and that Curtis saved his life. Then Sheriff Bridges calls to tell him the louts have filed charges against him. But Mary Ellen testifies to the truth about the incident, and the charges are dismissed. A romance develops between Mary Ellen and the sergeant, Eddie Ramirez. Later, with Jason and Ben home for the weekend, they celebrate at the Dew Drop Inn, where he is again accosted by the louts. He says who he is and what he's done, and that if they want to fight him he'll "make it interesting" for them, but would rather they fought side by side. Shamefaced, they agree and shake hands.

"Meeting Eddie Ramirez made Mary Ellen realise that she could still be swept away by romanic feelings, and the sergeant discovered he was still a human being and not just a fighting machine. he returned to his airborne division in time to take part in the first wave of the Allied forces attack on D-Day".

In Charlottesville library Corabeth comes across a soldier, Captain Roger Westerby, who turns out to have been an admirer of hers back in Doe Hill. She is embarrassed and leaves hurriedly, but he tracks her to the store. Although each of them is married, he wants to take her out, and they spend a pleasant spring afternoon reading poetry by the pond. He tells her he's always loved her, but she remembers she's married to Ike. later he sends her a message urging her to have one last meeing together before he goes overseas. She goes but feels guilty about it. Returning home to her husband she tells him warmly that she loves him dearly, calling him, for once, "Ike".


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