Today was surely one of the proudest days in East Wallingford's long and chequered history, as one of its own, Quincy the pigeon, travelled to Washington to be decorated by the President with the Congressional Medal of Honor.
A veteran of seven wars, Quincy first saw service as a footsoldier in the War of Independence, in which he is widely acknowledged to have pecked loyalist General Justin Tullock so ferociously on the left buttock that he was forced to relinquish the use of his horse for five days through sheer discomfort.
Sadly, Quincy was forced to retire his active military career due to injuries sustained during the war's culmination at the Seige of Yorktown, where a loyalist cat badly maimed his right leg before he had time to run it through with his little bayonet.
Not to be discouraged, though, when the Civil War came looming, Quincy was amongst the first to sign up, crippled or no. It was then that he was posted to the airbourne communications division in which he was to make his name.
Indeed such were his heroics during the conflict that General Ulysses S. Grant himself was famously moved to pay testament to "the finest fowl to ever flit a feather".
Ever vigilant and ready to answer Uncle Sam's call, Quincy was to reprise his invaluable role as the 'infallable, unflappable military messenger' and US national wartime talisman no less than five times, tasting foreign conflicts in both the first and second World Wars, Vietnam, Korea and The Gulf, where, in his final act of active duty, he lodged himself inside the barrel of an enemy RPG launcher, causing a misfire and saving 17 lives.
It was this final selfless display of valour that has earned our plucky little friend not only the highest honour given to a US serviceman - but also a place in all our hearts.
Proud owner, Charlotte-Anne Escroquerie shall be accompanying Quincy for the journey and looks forward greatly to what promises to be an emotional day.
"I predict it will be an emotional day", Ms. Escroquerie revealed exclusively to the Chronicle.
And when asked about the secret of Quincy's incredible age?
"Two-hundred-and-thirty-four-year-old pigeons are not uncommon in my experience", she explains,"Naturally when you've been through as much as Quin-quins has, you have to have the odd limb and organ replaced or pickled but he is happy and leads a full and healthy life - I don't find it's longevity remarkable or suspicious in the least... and neither should you."
Upon their departure for his date with destiny, Quincy seemed subdued, a glazed look in his eyes as he sat, motionless and on his side, in his monogrammed gilded cage - perhaps reliving once more a lifetime, nay, three lifetimes' glorious achievements in service to his beloved country.
A service which, today, his country honours.
All here at the East Wallingford Chronicle wish Godspeed to you, Quincy - the finest fowl to ever flit a feather.
The award ceremony will be beamed live from the White House via satellite to East Wallingford Home For The Blind at 7pm EST tonight, where their 78-inch wall-mounted plasma screen TV will relay the historic events as they unfold.
Thackery Bellows - East Wallingford Chronicle Avain Decorations Correspondent