Biden’s voice grew tender as he recounted the story about his uncle’s refusal to accept the award because “the others died.” He likened that sense of character to the generation of soldiers who fought in Iraq.
“My dad, when I got elected Vice President, he said, ‘Joey, Uncle Frank fought in the Battle of the Bulge.’ He was not feeling very well now — not because of the Battle of the Bulge. But he said, ‘And he won the Purple Heart. And he never received it. He never — he never got it. Do you think you could help him get it? We’ll surprise him.’
“So we got him the Purple Heart. He had won it in the Battle of the Bulge. And I remember he came over to the house, and I came out, and he said, ‘Present it to him, okay?’ We had the family there.
“I said, ‘Uncle Frank, you won this. And I want to …’ He said, ‘I don’t want the damn thing.’ No, I’m serious. He said, ‘I don’t want it.’ I said, ‘What’s the matter, Uncle Frank? You earned it.’ He said, ‘Yeah, but the others died. The others died. I lived. I don’t want it.❜❞