I agree that the award system has gone goofy with "participation" ribbons and medals. Medals for just being in the military and breathing? How did the U.S. Armed Forces ever function before all these awards were dreamed up. I recall a joke about Canadian senior officers, during a visit to the Pentagon, clipping a rack of phony ribbons over their one real ribbon just so they wouldn't be embarrassed in the presence of USAF junior enlisted personnel with four rows of awards. In Commonwealth country military forces, it isn't unusual to see senior officers and NCOs with only two or three medals for a whole career, exceptions being for those who have been on campaign or been decorated for valor. I think the proliferation of medals and ribbon-only awards just cheapens and waters down the award system so that it doesn't mean much. I suppose as much could be said about some of the upper level medals awarded only to senior officers just for doing their duty. I suppose if we wanted to further expand the military award system, the ribbons and medals should at least mean something. How about the "I Stayed Married" Medal (or conversely, the "I Got Divorced" Medal? Or the Road Guard Ribbon, or the "I Stood at Attention" Ribbon (for those post-recruit who remember how)? Or "My Dad is a General" Medal? I could dream up a lot more.
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