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THE PURPLE HEART



I decided to go to the Goodwill Store, while my wife was next door at the local pharmacy.

While I was growing up, I lived on the streets for many years and had to depend on clothes and shoes from such places. I swore that I would never purchase anything from those types of stores again. That day, for some strange reason, I broke my rule.

Walking around, I looked at all the racks of worn shoes, and faded pants and shirts all lined against the wall in the same way as it was 45 years ago. It brought back many painful memories for me to enter such a place.

I stopped at a table with a small cardboard box and a tray of old tarnished silverware. It was the contents of the small container that caught my attention. I fumbled through the box of military medals and was surprised to find a Purple Heart.

I had never seen one before. I picked up the medal and stared at it wondering what brave soldier had received this honor, and if he or she was still alive. I could not believe that anyone would discard such a precious item. I placed it back in the tray and continued through the store. No matter how hard I tried, I just could not get that darned medal out of my mind.

I walked up to the front of the store and asked the woman how much the medals cost.

"Twenty-five cents each," she replied with a smile.

"Why would anyone throw away something like that?" I asked.

"Maybe it belonged to someone who died and when his estate was sold at auction, the medal no longer had value to anyone," she shrugged with little interest.

I immediately returned to the back of the store and retrieved the Purple Heart. Without a word, I purchased it for a quarter and walked out to my truck to wait for my wife. When she finally joined me, she asked if I had found anything of value.

"As a matter of fact, I did, I replied. I found something that was priceless and I purchased it for only 25 cents.

When we arrived home, I cleaned up the medal and its ribbon as best I could. Then I wrapped it in a small American flag and buried it with honor, along with a copy of the Bill of Rights which I had kept from my junior high school days.

I no longer hold myself to the rule I made many years ago. Unfortunately, there are many priceless items that can be found in the local Goodwill Store.



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