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LIVERPOOL DAILY POST: Web medal sales belittle our heroes.

EVERY November, as the sacrifices of so many are marked by the Remembrance Day march-past in Whitehall, each participant takes an obvious pride in displaying the medals that their endeavours have earned them.

They march in their hundreds, paying tribute to those who were never able to wear the medals that their heroism undoubtedly deserved.

So it is distressing to learn today that the valour of so many has been belittled by the booming internet auction trade in war medals.

Once, they were rare commodities, guaranteed to fetch a handsome price in a saleroom.

But, as time has moved on, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of our Great War heroes have realised that the medals passed down to them represent easy pickings on the internet.

They may barely have known - or may even never have met - the brave recipient of the medals since entrusted to them, but it still surely undermines the sacrifices they made to flog them off on Ebay for as little as pounds 6 a time.

Lord Justice Richards will have vocalised the feelings and proper respect of many, when he said in a recent court ruling that "a medal is a gift from the Sovereign to a member of the Armed Forces".

How unfortunate that those offloading their brave forebears' memorabilia so cheaply on the Net obviously do not share that view.

If these medals were being sold by old soldiers who had fallen on hard times, and were looking for cash to help support them in their final years, few would quibble.

But it is heartbreaking to compare the pride and passion that Great War veterans would have felt when receiving their medals with the callous avarice of those who see them as an easy route to a little extra cash.

As military officials have told us, any unwanted medals would be far better donated to regimental museums than auctioned on the Net. That would surely be a more fitting tribute than a few pounds from Pay Pal.
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Title Annotation:Leaders
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 31, 2008
Words:332
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