Nearly every single award that American soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines fight, bleed and sometimes die to receive
- can be bought by everyone else on the Internet
- even from the same company that makes them for the U.S. military.
- With the lone exception of the Congressional Medal of Honor, it’s all perfectly legal
- It’s even legal to wear them now, unless the person is using his fraudulent medals to gain something of value.
- Yet to many, it is a deadly serious matter.
- George Washington’s general order of Aug. 7, 1782, established the first American military awards.
- Ever since, U.S. service members, veterans and many civilians have reviled those who wear them fraudulently and sadly expected it to happen.
- “Should any who are not entitled to these honors have the insolence to assume the badges of them they shall be severely punished,” Washington said in the order to his troops.
- The job of punishing those who fraudulently wear military awards became much more complicated.
- after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Stolen Valor Act of 2005, citing free-speech concerns
- Under the 2005 act, it was illegal to wear an unearned medal of valor at all.