Over the last few years, I have watched and been amused by the many videos of service members or veterans confronting posers who lay claim to military honors that they do not deserve. A confrontation in Charlotte recently, however, is not amusing in the least.
The incident involved a couple of young Marines confronting and assaulting a Vietnam-era veteran who, they believed, was not entitled to the awards he was displaying. Jack Hughes, a 66-year old Charlotte resident, was returning from a Veteran’s Day event in St. Louis when a young Marine started yelling at him, complaining that, “Your ribbons are crooked. You’re a fake. You are a phony.”
Another Marine, claiming to be an active duty Marine, attempted to rip two Purple Hearts off of Hughes’ uniform. He failed, but succeeded in ripping the buttons off.
These Marines accused Hughes of being a fraud, while another member of their group was filming the entire confrontation on a cell phone. It isn’t difficult to imagine what the video was going to be used for.
Police responded to the incident and, it appears, chose not to charge the Marines with assault. Hughes spoke to local WSOC-TV about the incident and showed proof that he had earned the awards.
Although I no longer live in Charlotte, I was never a Marine and I would certainly never vocally or physically abuse an elderly person for any reason, I feel ashamed at the treatment this man – this decorated veteran – received at the hands of these ignorant punks.
My shame doesn’t come from the ignorance shown by a fellow service member (I have seen sailors and marines do some shockingly ignorant things during my time in the service), but it comes from the culture of confrontation we have created. Even if the man had not been who he claimed, even if he had not been due the awards he was wearing, why would it be okay to verbally and physically assault this man?
The people who are guilty of stolen valor know that the awards they have given themselves are not real. They want to feel better about their pathetic lives by receiving the adulation from others. It is a mental problem more than a criminal act and these people should receive the help they need, but they don’t need a bunch of service members attacking them in public.
Stolen valor is a problem, yes, but it is not a problem that should lead to abuse. Physical confrontation, especially for a petty reason like internet fame, is sickening.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.