Great Americans and the Stolen Valor Act

Should claiming a medal you are not authorized to wear be a crime? Often, the person parading around with that Navy Cross, Purple Heart, Medal of Honor, served in a minor role in the military. And they want to puff themselves up.

Now, there is a way to check a medal database. The gory details:

The issue might never have reached this stage if not for the efforts of Sterner, and her husband, Doug.

He is a decorated Vietnam veteran who has made it his work in recent years to ensure that service members get the recognition they deserve and expose those who falsely claim acts of heroism under fire. Rather than wait for the government to act, Doug Sterner has entered nearly 100,000 award citations since Civil War in his online database, including all 3,475 Medal of Honor winners in U.S. history. His archive is used by the Military Times newspapers, published by Gannett Co.

Pam Sterner went back to school in her early 40s at Colorado State University in Pueblo, Colo. In a political science course, she wrote a paper that grew out of her husband’s frustrations over phony award claimants whose worst punishment was public embarrassment. That paper eventually led to the Stolen Valor Act.

Doug and Pam Sterner photographed in Alexandria, Va. Pam is the author of a college paper that led to the drafting of a federal law in 2006, the Stolen Valor Act.

 The Sterners, two great Americans. We, in uniform, salute you. . .

5 thoughts on “Great Americans and the Stolen Valor Act”

  1. The Stolen Valor Act in the United States v. Alvarez will be decided by the Supreme Court later this year…
    The Supreme Court has never held that intentional false statements of fact are worthy of constitutional protection. When the Stolen Valor Act case is decided later this year, the American Legion believes that the high court will recognize the harm caused to honorable veterans by fraudsters who lie about their military achievements.
    I think I agree..lies and fraud have nothing to do with the First Amendment …we should thank this couple for their due diligence and dedication to the truth…k

  2. I am a firm supporter of Freedom of Speech. I get many quizzical looks when I tell people I support the right to burn the Flag. I would also support a Constitutional amendment to outlaw it. But without that amendment I believe burning the flag is protected political speech as I read the Constitution. We as a nation also have the right to establish that boundary if we choose to.

    As for trying to equate knowingly wearing and claiming credit for awards never earned, there are many things to be considered. The harm caused to veterans as Kristen stated is the most obvious. My understanding is the court may very well continue to parse it into whether the liar gained a benefit (knowingly or unknowingly) through fraud. This is legalese far beyond what my education can figure out. *shrugs* I do know I cheer every time a grassroots movement outs someone with false claims.

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