“Uncommon valor was a common virtue,” Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, U.S. Navy, wrote of America's World War II marines on Iwo Jima. Valor may exist for a moment, but it shows a man’s core forever. Lying about valor also shows a man’s core–rotting at best.

In 2006 Congress passed the Stolen Valor Act, making the wearing of unearned military medals a crime. In 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the law saying wearing unearned military medals is protected free speech. In 2013 Congress passed an amended Stolen Valor Act focusing on fraudulent claims of military service with stiff penalties for an individual who, with intent to obtain money, property or other tangible benefit, lies about receiving military medals, ribbons and badges awarded for combat valor or combat service. Sen. Jon Tester, co-sponsored the amended bill.

Earned military medals and ribbons show proudly an American’s service in defense of America’s freedom and values. Many Americans died earning these honored emblems. If you, or a veteran’s family, are unsure of the military medals or ribbons the veteran has earned, seek the help of a qualified veterans service officer.

But for those shameful few who disgrace the word honor, fully understand the potentially hard penalties you face for lying about military service, especially when falsely wearing ribbons or medals for valor in combat. Your integrity, leastwise, becomes questionable; at most, you run afoul of federal law.

Honor is fabled in Montana, liar is a terrible stain.

Ed Saunders

Laurel

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