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Veteran's widow should be allowed to wear husband's medals, say readers

Categories: Canada, Community

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Many commenters support Madrien Ferris's decision to wear her late husband's war medals on Remembrance Day, while others call it disrespectful. (CBC)

The widow of a military veteran should be allowed to wear his military medals on Remembrance Day, even though it is illegal in Canada, say many readers.

Madrien Ferris said she plans to wear her husband Albert's medals on Monday during the Charlottetown, P.E.I., ceremony. He earned 10 medals during his 30 years of service with the Armed Forces, and they have been in storage since his death in 1995.

"I can't understand why we can't as relatives, next of kin, wear these medals. Show them, display them, let the sun shine on them," Ferris told CBC.

No one but the veteran is allowed to wear war medals, according to the Criminal Code of Canada. Although the Royal Canadian Legion has not yet commented on the issue, it has said in the past it does not want the law to be changed and that it was created to protect veterans.

However, many people -- including current and retired soldiers -- who commented on our story, said the law is outdated and think it should be reversed, as long as people do not disrespect the medals by selling them, for example.

"Some laws just don't make any sense. Like this particular one," wrote UgottaBkiddin on

"Many Canadians and veterans/spouses and family are likely behind you [Madrien] 100 per cent as long as there is clear acknowledgement provided as to who earned [the medals]," wrote Support Your Govt. "Times are changing so we need to change our own attitudes and laws to reflect same and also be generous with our support and kindness."

Some online commenters even suggested that, along with being free to wear her late husband's medals, Ferris should receive some of her own for supporting him during his military career.

"A wife that stands by her man and keeps the home going while he is at war deserves the medals as much as he does," wrote Shandee Nabess on CBC's Facebook page.

"She held things together on the home front; she was the comfort and security that kept him going abroad and at home! She was his nurse, psychologist, and everything else that he needed her to be when he came home! She has every right to wear them, and she should have been given a few herself," added Shannon Hawkey.

Veteran: "No better way to honour my life"

Many members of the military also joined in the debate.

"I am a veteran and I can think of no better way to honour my life and my service to country that having the very people, my family, wear my medals," wrote Runaway1969 on "Oftentimes our military families sacrifice so much so we can serve our country. Just the thought of this makes me very proud of this lady."

"I'm a currently in the military [and] have served many years including [in] Afghanistan and see absolutely no issue with Madrein wearing her late husband's medals," wrote Still Serving. "She has my support, and if you find yourself in Fredericton this year Madrein, I'll stand next to you."

However, there were some strong dissenting voices in the discussion. Some commenters said they believed Ferris was being disrespectful by wearing her husband's medals and said it would be better if she just framed or carried the medals.

"As someone that has actually earned some medals, I object to her plan. There is no honour in this. No widow or close relative has 'earned the right' to wear them, period," wrote meplat.

"He spent the time in combat sleeping in the mud soaked to the bone eating rations. She went to sleep every night in a bed under a roof in a heated home. She should not be wearing the medals someone else earned," added Ruralife.

What's your take? As always, we appreciate your comments and welcome you to continue the conversation below.

Tags: Canada, Community Reaction

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