The medals on a soldier’s chest are supposed to be symbols of what he or she has gone through in the service of their country. A Purple Heart is awarded to those injured in combat. A Bronze Star Award is made for acts of heroism and our nations highest such award, the Medal of Honor is awarded by the President in the name of Congress to a person who, distinguishes himself or herself at the risk of his life or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.
The deed performed must have been one of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his comrades and must have involved risk of life. Incontestable proof of the performance of the service will be exacted and each recommendation for the award of this decoration will be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.
So you can see that they don’t just hand out those sorts of medals like prizes in cereal boxes. But you may be disturbed to learn that you can buy actual medals on EBay.
And to make it worse some of those medals have found their way onto the chests of men, and I use that term advisedly, who have never even been a member of our armed forces, never mind served in combat.
Why would someone stoop so low as to pretend to be a combat veteran? They get to play the role of a war hero at military funerals, banquets and benefits. They do it for attention and to get noticed.
And soon, if they get caught, they can play the role of cellmate to a large man named Bubba. Congress is considering passing the stolen valor act which would make it a crime to even claim the medal was earned. Right now if you wear a medal of honor you could go to the slammer for a year and pay a hefty $100,000 fine. If this bill passes it will make it a crime to wear any medal you paid for but didn’t earn.
No matter what you think about war and it’s consequences you have to believe that is justice. All I can think about is what my Father, who earned his medals with blood, would say to some creep wearing a medal he bought at a flea market. It wouldn’t be pretty.