Editorial Salute - 12/27/12

Earlier this year, in a specific case, the Supreme Court ruled against the existing Stolen Valor Act, put in place by Congress to provide fines and even imprisonment, for anyone claiming combat medals they hadn't actually earned.  Much to the chagrin of honorable veterans, the Court ruled that lies, alone, about possessing unearned medals, were protected by the First Amendment.  The decision stated (quote): "The nation well knows that one of the costs of the First Amendment is that it protects the speech we detest, as well as the speech we embrace."  But, that said, it doesn't protect those who lie to the Federal Government, and/or attempt to profit from such false  heroism, such as applying for government benefits.  Federal law is still in place to deal with such misrepresentations.  Not only have fakers gone after undeserved benefits, but they've also used false service and medal stories to gain employment or paid consultancies.  So it is, indeed, great news that both houses of Congress have now passed a revised Stolen Valor Act, taking such beyond mere lies into the overall realm of personal gain.

The intent and actions of those who lie about receiving the nation's highest awards for military bravery are disgraceful, and with personal gain, criminal.  Such misrepresentations dilute the courage and sacrifice, the latter, too often limbs, mind, or life, of those who've served so honorably, and fully, to protect our nation, and defend our freedom, and who, or next of kin, now possess, with justifiable pride, the medals for combat valor so richly deserved, and earned.