America has always had great pride in our Armed Forces. The men and women that have traveled the world saving the lives of millions from threats when no other nation would or could do so. Men and women that have for decades chosen to provide their blood, sweat, and even their lives voluntarily. It is these sacrifices that pay for the freedoms that every American, of whatever religious and/or political belief, enjoys every day.
Those that have volunteered for military service did not do so for riches, fame, or medals. Those that have earned medals did so because they were helping their fellow soldiers, and those innocent civilians that could not defend themselves. Often these medal earners retain their medals with quiet pride, displayed only on occasions of serious note and/or in places of honor in their homes.
Thus to serve in the U.S. military is to display a love of the nation few are willing to commit to. And the medals that some earn are symbols of devotion, both of the survivors and those that gave everything.
But today the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that none of the above is important. That to lie about earning such an honor is not a crime. That to deceive the public in claiming to have earned a medal, to besmirch the memory of those that died or were wounded, is a Right that law and decency cannot intrude on.
There is no thought more insulting than one given to those that guarantee that this commentary can be written – that it can be read, without the fear of death or harm befalling those that read it – than the statement that a medal is just a shiny piece of metal with no value placed upon it. Because if there is no consequence for the unjustified claim that a person has earned a military service medal, then the medal and what it represents equally has no value or meaning.
By extension, what is the value of a college degree? What is the value of any action of merit? If an honor based on the lives of the few that love the nation enough to give their lives is just a transitory tapestry, a colorful adornment without significance, then what value does any other action of merit hold?
To claim to have earned a medal, to impersonate a member of the Armed Forces, is a false testimony of courage and faith in the nation. It is a harm to the memory and actions of those that have bled for the freedoms of all Americans. How anyone would not see this as a crime is beyond this writer. Yet it was not beyond the 9th Circuit Court, apparently.
Yes there is a Right to Freedom of Speech. But that Right does not confer to false claims that injure another. Freedom of Speech does not allow a person to yell fire in a crowded theater when there is no threat. It does not allow for the falsification of documents or false testimony. Or at least it did not before today.
The Constitution does not, at any point, denote a Right to lie. It does not imbue a protection to those that besmirch, harm, and defame individuals and the nation. Any interpetation of the Constitution to allow for these things is more akin to insanity and a perversion of the Constitution than the Rights Americans have lived and fought for since the inception of this nation.
The Supreme Court will be hearing this case, there is no doubt. The finding on this case will be a statement about this nation and it’s future. We can only hope that the ultimate Court of the nation will have the decency to retain the honor and meaning of the medals and service of our Armed Forces.
But I invite any that would dispute this view to explain how any other view can be held on this matter.