Letter: Donna Fortier, Ashburn

Editor: I grew up in a proud military family as my dad was an army officer who put his life on the line to protect our freedoms.

I recently had the opportunity to visit my son who is continuing this family value and is in basic training at Fort Benning, GA as he enlisted in the U.S Army Infantry.

While I am extremely proud of him for his bravery and patriotism, I am terrified that he will be called into battle and will put his life on the line defending our way of life. That decision is his and one I will support.

The courage these men and women show is honorable and we should all be thankful we have these brave individuals in our society.

During our visit we shopped at the many “ranger” stores that sell clothing and “other items” to anyone who walks through their door. I was disgusted to see some of the other items hanging on their walls for anyone to purchase. For $39.88 you can buy a Purple Heart, for a few dollars more you can buy a Medal of Honor.

What has happened to our way of life and our societal values to think this is OK? How is it OK to allow anyone, especially those that never served or were dishonorably discharged to hang these badges of honor on their walls or around their necks? How is it OK that no proof of service is required? How is it OK that they can misrepresent their military service?

We’ve all been misrepresented, and that’s OK, because we live in a free society and they have the right to do that and it’s because of our service personnel that they will continue to have that right. But this type of misrepresentation is reprehensible.

We wonder why the fabric of our community is fraying, well that can only happen if we allow it to.

Please help me ensure that only those who can prove their valor can purchase these items. Having to show your DD214 is the least that should be required. We have to show proof to adopt a pet, cast a vote, get a driver’s license, buy a drink, or write a check. Shouldn’t we have to show proof to buy a military medal?

Recently, a dear friend of mine lost her husband who served proudly in the U.S Marines. She wanted to place a Marine medallion at his grave. She mentioned how difficult it was to get as she had to provide a tremendous amount of proof, and we both agreed that’s how it should be. We shouldn’t be able to walk into a store a buy it.

I was once told that less than 1 percent of high school graduates enter into the military, that tells you something about the risks. Help honor them by stopping the sale of their honor and our values.

I know it will probably take an “act of Congress” and I know all the stars will need to align, but who are we as a society if we don’t try?

Donna Fortier, Ashburn

[To support this effort donna@mobilehopeloudoun.org or stop by Mobile Hope at 31 Sycolin Road, SE, Leesburg to add your name to a letter on the issue.]

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