One of the situations wherein award pins are most used is for the recognition of war veterans. A war veteran is one who has survived a war – may it be World War II, or the Vietnam or Korean War. Even those who came home after their tours in Afghanistan or Iraq may also be considered a war veteran.
These pins are given in recognition for the sacrifices these soldiers have made for their countries. After all, these soldiers have effectively laid down their lives for the sake of whatever it is their country is fighting for. In fact, not all are lucky enough to survive unscathed.
This is why after whatever war these soldiers fight for, they are immediately granted award pins for their bravery, courage, and service to the nation. The President himself usually gives away these award pins as the symbol of the highest form of honor and respect because the service of the soldier was for the benefit of the country. Even old war veterans who survived World War II and the Vietnam War still proudly wear their uniforms with their award pins showing prominently. These award pins show that they risked their lives for their country, thus it is just right that they continue to be proud of it even years after it was given to them.
The main reason why these pins are given to these veterans and not certificates or medals is for reasons of practicality. If you give someone a certificate or a medal, it cannot be constantly worn by the person you gave it to. These pins on the other hand, can be worn anytime because it is attached to the clothing. If you see an elderly war veteran, chances are, his pins are displayed on his hat, or on his shirt, even if he is not wearing his dress uniform. Even if he is wearing his ordinary everyday clothes, he can wear his pin on his lapel or on his shirt pocket. If the veteran is still in active service, his pins are already part of his dress uniform, together with all the other pins signifying his rank or the unit where he came from. Once he retires, then he can still opt to wear his pins on whatever it is he is wearing, just like the elderly veterans.
Moreover, as compared to just certificates or medals, these pins connote something more serious. After all, the recipients are people who were willing to die for the cause, or have lost limbs or a part of their body during the ordeal. It is just fitting that they be given something that they could wear anytime, so that their achievements may always be recognized even by the children who have had no experience with war, or were not born yet when any of the wars happened. They should be allowed to wear it anytime, because they indeed have the right to be proud of whatever it was they achieved. In fact, some elderly veterans go to the extent of having these pins accompany them even to the grave. There are those that want to be buried wearing their dress uniforms, which of course, include the pins awarded to them for their bravery.
Today’s generation should definitely be thankful that now is a time of peace and that the current generation does not have to experience any of the hardships our ancestors did. However, this does not mean that whatever these veterans went through should be forgotten. People should always be thankful that there are brave men and women who are willing to give their lives for the country.