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Congressional Gold Medal

Heroes Remember

Congressional Gold Medal

There is one memorable occasion that just happened last February that we were called to Washington, D.C. and there must have been sixty or seventy of us. There was fourteen Canadians and we were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal which is the highest medal or the highest honour that the American Congress can bestow on anybody. We have guys like George Washington was the first one that won it. The first man on the moon got it. Nelson Mandela got it and we are in choice area. But it’s about three inches in diameter, and a quarter inch thick, mind you it’s not gold. There’s only one gold medal stamped. It is really phenomenal that the American Congress saw fit to vote a blanket award for the First Special Service Force. There are about forty Canadians still alive and that in itself is something. I have to say that the Congressional Gold Medal wasn’t presented to people, it was presented to a force as a unit and we know it but we want the people to realize that it was the force, not individuals.

Mr. Summersides speaks about his acceptance and pride in receiving the Congressional Gold Medal of Honour for his efforts as part of the First Special Service Force.

Jim Summersides

Mr. Jim Summersides was born in Welland, Ontario, a town where he has lived all his life. As a young man, he recalls that peer pressure played a role in his joining the army. After enrolling, Mr. Summersides volunteered for the First Special Service Force, a unique joint Canadian- American effort that snuck behind German artillery lines creating havoc for the enemy. Mr. Summersides, along with fellow Canadian comrades, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor from the American Congress for his rare and profound contribution to the war effort. After the force broke up, he joined the 48th Highlanders and finished the war with that regiment. Mr. Summersides is very proud of his service during the Second World War and has had the pleasure of returning to Holland as part of the Canadian delegation for anniversary events.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
May 30, 2015
Person Interviewed:
Jim Summersides
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Liberation of Holland
1st Special Service Force

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