About one week ago, Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams saw what appeared to be a highly decorated senior Marine in a combination of dress blues alpha and bravo in the airport. Mr. Williams quickly gave up his first-class seat to the Marine in honor of his apparent service to the nation. The photo quickly went viral and fellow Marines had a field day picking apart the countless errors in uniform procedure, medal placement, and general disregard for real soldiers’ service.
It is not even disregard, it is outright disrespect. Thousands of service members have died defending the nation and fighting to uphold the values represented by the uniform. There have been far too many instances in the last several years of military imposters trying to take advantage of the public respect given to those who have served.
For that reason, President Bush signed the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 which worked to defend and protect the distinction of the Medal of Honor and other military decorations. The law made it a federal misdemeanor to falsely represent oneself as having received any U.S. military decoration and, if convicted, could be imprisoned for up to one year. Unfortunately, the law was struck down in U.S. v Alvarez in 2012, citing that the law impeded Freedom of Speech.
If there was ever a time where freedom of speech should be curbed, this might be the one. America’s service members deserve proper recognition which should not be tarnished by imposters and attention seekers.
American service men and women deserve the highest appreciation and gratitude from the public for their service and sacrifice to the nation, especially during the last decade of war. Because of that sacrifice, many people and places have instituted benefits that service members and veterans can enjoy as a small token of appreciation for their commitment to defending the freedoms of everyday Americans. Unfortunately, there are the inevitable leeches that try to take advantage of the praise on honor bestowed upon actual soldiers.
If you saw this Marine imposter, how would you dress him down? Why is it so important to respect the sanctity of the uniform?
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