by Gunny Sergeant John McClain, USMC, Retired
Lost to most citizens among the arguments over the court’s decision on obama-don’t care plan, the court also just eviscerated “The Stolen Valor Act” which was passed because it seems again, as in the aftermath of Vietnam, a great many pretenders put on medals they would have to serve in the armed forces to be awarded, and congress reacted by passing a law making such actions punishable by law.
The court used the fig leaf of the speech clause of the first amendment, to state the law was unconstitutional, suggesting once again, something with no relation to speech can be speech, and protected, no matter what it does to those impacted by their actions.
I’m pretty liberal, if you tell me you’re about to burn a flag, I believe you have the right to say so, and I have only the right to say what I feel is appropriate. On the other hand, if you actually pick up a flag, or pull one out of your backpack, you aren’t speaking anymore, you are acting, and I know there is nothing in the first amendment defending acts of protest, except that they are peaceful.
I served The People of this Nation for two decades as a Marine. I’ve seen my flag flown over a great many places as a symbol that we Americans have come, and have helped you get things fixed, controlled, saved, what ever the emergency was, we have fought and died to fix it, or we have sunk our lives in swamps, in sand, in the very worst of places in this world, to bring food to people, and assure them they can collect it to eat in peace. That flag might not mean a whole lot to those who’ve never served under it, or even seen themselves defended by others, while they, themselves were under it, but its meaning to me is my own, and your actions may well demand my own.
The “Stolen Valor Act” was written in the defense of the men and women who have surrendered their rights, their liberties, assumed enslavement in voluntary submission to tyrannical rule, all because each of us has known the Nation cannot survive without Patriots willing to stand in its defense.
We take oaths which bind us to duties to the death, and we lose our clothing and live in a uniform, to provide for military purpose, and the law which holds it a crime to wear the uniform if one is not in the service has been upheld, because it was accepted by almost everyone, no person can be allowed to impersonate Authority figures, and putting on the uniform is doing exactly that.
The uniform is not merely a shirt and trousers, a belt with a shiny buckle, shiny shoes, and a fine cap, it includes the ribbons and badges which demonstrate accomplishments, and duty assignments fulfilled, and these provide a short, sweet, to the point perspective every serving American can know, in introduction, of the person serving next to them, and possibly securing their own life.
There are several items of uniform which are legal for not only former or retired personnel to wear with civilian wear, the under wear of course, but socks, the shoes, the boots, and in addition, the personal awards one has had bestowed upon them by a grateful nation, honoring them for specific acts above and beyond the call of duty.
Now my own uniform has a dozen or so ribbons, with five or six representing medals, and one or two personal decorations, for valued service, and not valor. It is legal for me to wear my uniform as I am retired, left the service honorably, and I must merely maintain the grooming standards to legally and properly wear the uniform with the respect it represents for those who have paid that ultimate price for our Nation. Only in a dress uniform may I wear all my ribbons and badges.
I may wear that one or two personal awards in civilian dress, but they look funny, so miniatures are made which are less conspicuous, but true to form and function. When I see someone wearing personal awards, I can almost always assume that person served and is thus a brother or sister to me. I can look at those and have an inkling of where they served, and what they did. It is no effort at all to dismiss the fool who has chosen to wear such without earning it, few ever come close to being presentable without having earned their way.
When someone does such a thing, they are wearing the uniform of someone who served, and by doing so, they lie. The court can see the difference between a medal and a uniform, but no one I’ve ever served with, under, over, or around, with any respect has ever been able to see any difference, because those are a part of either our professional service history, or our personal acts above and beyond. If they are not “the uniform” they are in truth, nothing at all.
I have lived long with the certain knowledge that if I am next to someone who is preparing to burn the flag, I am liable to get in serious trouble and be arrested, and I can accept that, as long as the whole of the community can accept I will do it again, at any time I ever see it, because I earned that right. I remain absolutely certain that burning the American flag or any other flag is not speech, by definition it is at most the crackling of fire, and the sound of the destruction of an emblem I hold dear. I refuse to accept the judgment of some lawyer who got appoint to a court, coming forth and telling me the act of setting an American flag on fire is speech. We have something called Webster’s, which defines speech. Noah Webster, who wrote the first American English dictionary sat among the founders and was one of them.
I will no more accept this ruling regarding wearing medals awarded for valor or personal effort, to individuals who were observed and reported as valorous and above and beyond, bestowed upon them, not earned, but awarded, as each citation says; “by a Grateful Nation”, allowing them to be defaced by being worn by liars and cheats, than I accept the idiocy that came out of that court stating the act of burning is speech.
A person who takes a symbol of heroism or valor, and wears it to appear more than who or what they are has no right to do so. They are not speaking out by doing so, but they are, as the law read, stealing the valor from those who were awarded the honor for heroic actions, usually in combat.
Not so many years ago, Admiral Bourda, the Chief of Naval Operations, was confronted at a formal event by someone who knew he did not earn his bronze star for valor in combat, and had no right to wear the “combat V”, and charged him with wearing a medal not earned.
The admiral did not argue, he did not protest, or claim a right, he said almost nothing at all about it except to publicly give deep and sincere apologies for dishonoring those who earned it. He then went home, and in his dress uniform, properly adorned, again, he took his own life, leaving a statement for his loved ones, regarding his honor demanding this.
The supreme court has shown twice this week, it is fundamentally unqualified to render opinions, because most of its members are too ignorant to understand the law, or too enmeshed in the pursuit of power to render unbiased judgment.
It is a simple truth, if honor is not worth defending there is nothing worthy of blood spilled in its defense. If the simple rule of law is not the sole rationale for a court finding, then those who pretend to their station are not fit for service.
Copyright July 03, 2012 by Gulf1