On Friday, 9 Nov 2012, my
immediate family gathered. My
mother was downsizing and moving. Her children, plus a couple of their spouses,
were going to gather to divide and conquer. As soon as I got there, I was instructed where to sit
so I could start going through things. One of the first sets of items they put
before me was three Purple Heart cases. I hadn't seen them in a while, but I
remembered them from my childhood. They were my father's Purple Hearts,
right? Then I
thought, "Three?" I knew he was wounded, shot up very badly actually, but do you get
another Purple Heart when you get wounded a second time? Or 'just' a star?
Wait. Didn't he
get wounded three separate times? These were questions I didn't think to ask as
My mother and my brothers were chattering away
trying to figure out the answers to these questions, when I opened up one case and turned over the
medal. (I have learned a few things researching Uncle Pete.) It had, "FOR
MILITARY MERIT" on the back, but nothing else - no
inscription. I knew that some of these were handed out so fast that some did not
get inscribed, but I was a bit disappointed.
I opened up the second case and
turned over the medal. It had my father's name stamped on it. The name was
not stamped evenly, but it was recognizable. It was good to see
that name. I pointed it out to the others and pointed out the first one that had
no name and explained about it. Then I opened up the third case and turned over
I was dumbfounded. It was engraved with "LLOYD H.
HUGHES." We found a Purple Heart awarded to Uncle Pete! You could have knocked
me over with a feather. No one else had thought to turn them over and look for
We all decided then and there to loan
Uncle Pete's Purple
Heart to the Corps of Cadets Center at
Texas A&M University to be put on display
along with his Medal of Honor.