Monday, DeAngelo Williams, running back for the Carolina Panthers, did the right thing. He offered his Delta Airlines business class seat to an elderly Marine veteran. Then, like everyone is prone to do these days, he tweeted a picture of the vintage veteran, sitting proudly and comfortably in his upgraded seat.
Thanks to the thousands of current and retired military we have in America, the “Twitter sphere” lit up with comments, most indicating the gentleman who accepted the seat was most likely a “poser.”
The comments indicated major discrepancies in the so-called Marine’s uniform, pointing out, first and foremost, that a Marine Sgt. Major would never wear his hat, or “cover” as they call it in the military, indoors. Astute observers also called out the old guy for mixing up his badges, medals, and ribbons; things civilians might never catch.
It was not clear if the impostor was attempting to wear Dress Blue Alphas or Dress Blue Bravos. It seems he got that a little mixed-up, too.
After years of protests about impostors from veterans and veterans’ groups, President Bush signed the Stolen Valor Act of 2005. Simply stated, the law made it a federal misdemeanor to “falsely represent oneself as having been awarded U.S. military decorations and medals.” Leaving many veterans feeling betrayed, the Supreme Court of the United States declared the Stolen Valor Act unconstitutional, overturning the Act in 2012.
There is a message here to all the posers who show up for free meals and America’s respect and honor. Real veterans are proud of their service and proud of their uniform; if you show disrespect to either, you will be called out. There is no “Magic Hat” and no shortcut to being a United States veteran.
DeAngelo Williams' act of kindness is a reminder of the old adage, “May no good deed go unpunished.”
Read Williams' response to the negative comments here.