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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — While most of the attention in Washington today was about the Supreme Cour ruling on health care reform, another high court ruling today says falsely claiming to have a military honor medal is not a crime. The high court’s ruling strikes down the Stolen Valor Act.

Congress passed the Stolen Valor Act in 2006 to protect the reputation and meaning of military honors. The Supreme Court, though, said the First Amendment defends a person’s right to lie, even if they are lying about awards won through military service.

Freedom of speech is something the military fights for and protects, but one Wilmington Vietnam veteran wonders if the government is now crossing the line in protecting our freedom.

“All the men and women that served in the military put their lives on the line, and now their awards, their uniforms mean nothing,” Michael Gregorio said.

Gregorio joined the Marine Corps at 19, served 13 months in Vietnam and is now a member of a disabled veterans organization. He says the Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling striking down the Stolen Valor Act is disappointing but not surprising.

He wonders if the government is overstepping its grounds.

“You think about all the military people buried around the world. Are we protecting freedom too much right now?” he asked.

Gregorio was the commander of American Legion Post 10 in Wilmington. He left because the Legion did not make members prove they were veterans. He says it is just another way of belittling the real veterans in our country.

“The people that have won the Medal of Honor, my goodness… how disgraceful to wear that medal that didn’t earn it. It’s heart breaking,” Gregorio said.

Comment on this Story

  • John R. Gibbons

    I served with Mike Gregorio in Vietnam 67-68 & he is so right, these people should be exposed for the fakes they are. Shame on the Supreme Court, it seems that lying is the new accepted practice now. We are creating a World of people that does not know the meaning of Character & Integrity & we will surely pay for that. It is up to us as individuals to stop this decay. Below are some interesting facts about this subject.

    Vietnam Facts

    As of August 1995 1,713,823 of those who served in Vietnam were still alive. During that same Census count the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served in-country was: 9,492,958. As of the current census taken during August, 2000, the surviving U.S. Vietnam Veteran population estimate is: 1,002,511. This is hard to believe, losing nearly 711,000 between ’95 and ’00. That’s 390 per day. During this Census count, the number of Americans falsly claiming to have served in-country is: 13,853,027. By this census, four out of five who claim to be Vietnam veterans are not.



  • not sure

    so if I act like a cop I go to jail
    if I act like a doctor I go to jail
    at like a lawyer I go to jail
    But it’s ok to act like a war hero

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