I've learned quite a bit about Ed Malouf this morning -- like the fact that all nine of his children with wife Marie, and three of their 23 grandchildren, went to Bishop Lynch, where Ed is said to have literally built the field house with his bare hands while Marie taught theology and worked as a school counselor. (Their children established a trust fund in their folks' names at the school, as well.) And I've discovered that Ed, now 84, spends much of his free time trying to get members of Congress to give soldiers their just due long after they fought for their country.
One such example makes news in this morning's Washington Post, which chronicles Malouf's efforts to get Congress to award 87-year-old John Robinson -- his former commanding officer during World War II, when they served in the Army's 78th Infantry Division -- both a Purple Heart and Silver Star. But according to someone to whom I spoke this morning, someone who knows Ed well, this is but one tale among many; it has become, in recent years, his life's work. I hope to speak to him today. Till then, then, this excerpt from The Post with which to begin your Veterans Day:
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It had been more than 50 years since Ed Malouf had seen his former lieutenant. But here was a letter to the editor in the Army's 78th Infantry Division magazine signed by Robinson.
Malouf suddenly had a chance to get back in touch -- not only to reminisce about World War II, the Battle of the Bulge and that terrible freezing, deadly winter in the forest, but also to tell Robinson at long last how his heroism continued to inspire him.
When they reconnected in 1999, Malouf, of Dallas, was thrilled to be back in touch with Robinson, of Severna Park, but disheartened to hear that the man he considered a selfless hero had not been more highly decorated. And so with the help of others, Malouf launched a years-long crusade to get Robinson a Silver Star and a Purple Heart he thinks he deserves. It was an odyssey that would involve members of Congress, countless letters and e-mails and culminate with a quiet surprise last spring.