My heart almost skipped a beat when I saw the card from the post office sitting on the kitchen counter when I came home from town this afternoon. The card simply indicated that there was a parcel to be collected from the South Tamworth Post Office! My husband and I could not get down to the post office fast enough, however the man behind the counter was not at all interested as to why this parcel was of such great importance to me. He was gruff in his service, went off to search the shelves out the back of the store with a huff, and all but threw the small, white, bubble wrap envelope across the counter to me. The funny thing is – his attitude could not stop the smile from breaking across my face, nor the lightness I felt in my heart as I read who the sender of the envelope was – Directorate of Honours and Awards – Dad’s medals had arrived.
I carried the envelope back to the car which Terry had parked a short distance away and during that short walk all I could think of was ripping open the parcel. Terry watched as I withdrew small white box with dads service number and name printed on it. Inside was an oblong blue box which I opened to find the Australia Service Medal 1939 – 1945.
Monday 20 July 2015 was the day that I first held a medal which, by rights, should have gone to my father just about 70 years ago. The medal felt cool on my hand as I lifted the it from the box, and I marvelled at how polished and shiny it was. But as I sat staring at a side view of George VI which is on the front of the medal, I couldn’t help but feel sad that my dad, Ronald Norman Di Salvia, had never held the medal in his own hand. The old question burned deep within – why didn’t dad claim this medal as his own all those years ago?
For now though I would like my sisters to see and hold it so it looks like I will have to do some travelling over the next few months. I want them to see how it shines, feel it’s cool beauty and take pride in what dad was able to do in the service of his country. There was only 1 medal in the box so it seems that there will still be a wait for the other, but I am sure that when the 2nd medal arrives it will be of as much significance and excitement to me as the arrival of the first. Well done Dad – we’re proud of you.