Medal or not, soldier Alan is still true hero
Published 20/01/2011 | 08:00
In March 2009 Ranger Alan Owens, who comes from Portadown and who served with the Royal Irish Regiment, was awarded one of the highest of all military honours - the Military Cross.
This week he put it up for sale on eBay.
Why Ranger Owens, who was recognised for his bravery in Afghanistan, chose to do this is anybody's guess. But since the medal could raise tens of thousands, possibly as much as £100,000, financial reasons may well have something to do with it.
And can any of us really blame him for wanting to take the cash?
The medal is, of course, irreplaceable. In years to come he may wish he still has it to show and to hand down to his grandchildren.
But it is also the case that the medal is his. And his to do with what he will.
He's certainly earned it.
The citation describes how Ranger Owens: "Displayed courageous individual actions in the face of the enemy. He also demonstrated a clear grasp of the key principle of counterinsurgency.
"By checking for civilian casualties, he engendered a level of empathy with the local population, which no amount of fighting could establish."
If he sells his medal he may lose it forever. But that recognition of courage - they can never take that away from him.