Taking his name from one of 54,000 carrier pigeons who “served” the United States Army during WWII: GI Joe was described as “an exemplary soldier”. Saving over 1000 lives shortly before the tiny village of Calvi Vecchia, Italy, was set to be bombed, earned this feathered hero a Dicken Medal for gallantry in November of 1943. Sitting in good company, the legendary GI Joe was not the only animal whose natural abilities were harnessed during wartime activities, nor was he the only one to have his service acknowledged, with over 60 animals receiving the Dicken Medal.
Recently coming to roost amongst the straw and porcine beauty that is Princess and Gizmo, our petite little pigeon landed. And whilst his daring exploits to arrive at Edgar’s Mission may not rival those of his namesake, our little GI Joe has indeed got here on a wing and a prayer. Navigating a path complete with hawks and other predators, his sheer survival is a testament to his own “smarts”. And in return we are set to bestow the greatest honour to our new friend – his freedom, all the while not knowing if we are to be his ultimate destination or a mere port of call in his busy worldwide sojourn.
With the passage of time and world wars now resting in history (where we pray they will forever stay), perhaps too comes the time for we humans to serve the animals, celebrating them for who they truly are, not how they can be of service to us, especially if they are a tiny pigeon named GI Joe.