There’s an old saying in the military, old soldiers never die...they just fade away. I’m a little lost what we are going to do about those civilian big mouths who said they were old soldiers, and brave ones at that, and it all turns out to be a pack of lies.
While the Affordable Care Act grabbed all the headlines, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the federal Stolen Valor Act quietly last week under the radar screen. Hardly anyone noticed.
I am a veteran, like millions of others in this country who served in the name of defense of this great nation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no war hero. I earned one medal, the National Defense Medal for those serving during a crisis. My crisis was during Viet Nam, I was about to get drafted into the Army. The US Navy turned out to be more than a suitable consolation prize.
I kid people, telling them I was wounded on active duty. I tell people I was injured, falling off a bar stool in Honolulu. That was about as close as I got to any real combat, watching the palm trees sway on Waikiki Beach.
My brother got a lot closer. He was a Naval officer, and did two tours of duty on ships in the Gulf of Tonkin. He really was shot at.
One time, he was flying across the country, sitting next to a wet-behind-the-ears Marine private. This soldier went on and on about serving with valor in Viet Nam. My brother suspected something was amiss. He told the young Marine, “you don’t even have a single medal on your chest." To that, the Marine sheepishly admitted he just got out of boot camp and had been nowhere so far.
By a 6-3 vote of the court the phonies of the world can now go out and fabricate fake service records under the guise of free speech. That is just plain wrong.
There’s a jerk US representative from Chicago, a Joe Walsh who is hammering away at his opponent for a congressional seat in the suburbs; His opponent is a true Iraq war hero Tammy Duckworth. He calls her unfit for duty, though she’s been a secretary in the government for Veterans affairs. He says she dwells too much on her service record.
Here’s the story: Duckworth, a valiant chopper pilot lost both legs and an arm while flying a combat mission in Iraq. Walsh never served a day of his life in any form of military service, and he’s on record slamming Duckworth speech after speech. Shame on congressman Walsh.
The same was done when opponents Swift Boated Navy war hero John Kerry in 2004, and had nothing but unsavory things to say about double amputee Max Cleland of Georgia, another brave Viet Nam veteran running for public office.
I despise the new syle of in-your-face politics. All the name calling and shrill rhetoric is worse than what we used on the grade school playground. People have become so unseemly childish and uncivil to each other. Making up acts of valor are now fair game thanks mostly to the partisan opinion of our Supreme Court.
Let’s have a do over. Lets all get along and quit making up stories about our military service. The resumes ought to reflect nothing but the truth. Wouldn’t that be different?
The late Rodney King would have agreed to all of this.