Recently I read an online news story about an NFL player offering his seat in first class to a Marine he saw boarding his flight.
A photo of this Marine shows enough glaring errors in the uniform code, to make just about anyone believe Mr. Williams may have been deceived by an impostor.
Why would someone do this, when the penalty for impersonating a member of the U.S. Armed Forces is up to 5 years in federal prison?
We're all offended by this sort of thing, but it brings to mind an unpleasant memory from my adolescence.
I was a teenager in the post-Vietnam War era, when the attitude toward the military was quite different (damn hippies).
When I outgrew my old winter coat, I used my shiny new driver's license to take my Mum to Ralphs Army Surplus.
Where I went wrong was when I added some spangle to my new bomber jacket.
I didn't know how wrong until, as my Dad's designated driver, we went to his favorite bar.
My father, an Army vet, let a room full of drunks goad him into ripping the decorations right off my chest.
I was a dumb kid, who just wanted to show pride for the military that had fallen from grace in what many considered a humiliating defeat.
Hell I was hoping some damn hippie would try it but...Dad?
I left Dad with his friends and on the long, cold walk home, I gave serious thought to what I should take from this painful lesson.
I resolved that I would never pretend to be anything I am not; what I didn't know was where that need to prove myself would lead me.
There are those who envy the uniform, the men and women who wear their medals with pride, who speak in earnest of their bold exploits in defense of our nation.
I'm not one of them...why not?
Even if I could tell, you'd never believe me.