I decided to describe my grandfather’s World War II medals, which were passed from my grandmother to my uncle, who had them framed as a gift for my mother.
The case is wood, based on the high-pitch door sound it makes when knocked on gently, and has a thin coat of yellow metal that feels like brass. A thin layer of glass protects the three bronze medals, which have 1.75” ribbons and are pinned to indigo fabric. It also contains his insignia and a plaque bearing his name. The case is 8” long by 6.5” wide and 1.5” thick.
Looking at the side, it has a rounded inset and a ridge can be seen at each corner where the the frame pieces meet. The metal coating is beginning to wear away on the side shown, and some darker spots can be seen along the outer edge.
The back of the case is made of thin card stock, with a metal bracket at the top, and two rubber stoppers at the bottom corners, allowing it to be mounted to a wall. There is a thin sheet of paper over it that can be pulled off slightly. It also has a stamp on the back that reads “Custom Framed by Skyline Gallery and Framing,” along with a phone number and a Texas address.
In more detail, at the top of the display is a badge 1.5” wide by 0.5” tall, bearing a bumblebee holding a wrench and what looks to be a machine gun. This rests atop a saber and rifle crossed over an anchor, and behind it all is a field of leaves. The badge is made of a metal silver in color that has a luster akin to steel.The leftmost medal has a blue ribbon adorned with black, white, and red vertical stripes. The ribbon is about 1.75” long and 0.5” wide, as are the other two. The medal itself looks to be made of bronze, with a brown color, and has the image of a plane overhead and a sinking submarine in the foreground. The words “American Campaign” circle around the top. It has roughly the same diameter as a dime.
The center medal has a yellow ribbon again with red, black and white stripes. It has the image of soldiers and a palm tree and the words “Asiatic-Pacific Campaign” embossed on it. It looks bronze like its neighbors, and is of identical size. To the right, the last medal is slightly larger than the other two has a large central red stripe and rainbow stripes on either side. It has a man with a dagger stepping on a helmet, and reads “World War II”. This medal is slightly larger and thinner than the other two, about a nickel’s diameter but almost paper thin.
Under all three medals is a steel plaque with my grandfather’s name, “Charles G. Riccio, US Navy” engraved into it. My grandfather died in 1992, so along with a few pictures these are all I really have of him. They usually sit on my mother’s dresser, and have a solemn presence that instills in me a sense of longing and of pride.