A deterrent to lying about military medals

Published 11:30 pm Saturday, July 14, 2012

The United States Supreme Court on June 28 ruled that lying about receiving military decorations was protected under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, or free speech, provision. The Stolen Valor law, passed in 2006, made it a federal crime to lie about winning military medals.

In response, the Pentagon announced a plan to at least make it more difficult to lie about military service. The Pentagon last week announced plans to create a searchable database for military medal awardees. The intention is to have a digital repository of records on a range of valor awards and medals going back as far in history as possible, Pentagon press secretary George Little said Tuesday.

The announcement comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision in United States v. Alvarez. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy joined the liberal wing of the court, holding that the Stolen Valor Act violated the First Amendment.

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It is doubtful a searchable database will end lies about medals won in defense of this country, but it might at least give the person a bit of pause before concocting such a story. Americans, generally, hold the military in high-esteem. Veterans in Vicksburg are feted to parades on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Flags are planted graveside at the Vicksburg National Military Park each July 4 as a memorial to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. The military played a crucial part in Vicksburg’s past, plays a part today and will into the future.

Many would scratch their heads at the notion someone would falsify heroics in battle to enhance an image.

A soldier lies about receiving a medal in defense of the U.S. Constitution, a document that holds in it that soldier’s right to lie about the awards he never received. Amazing how something can be so wrong, yet so right.

But, at least, it will be more difficult to lie — and give those in disbelief a vehicle to prove their suspicions.