Local veterans react to overturned stolen valor conviction - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Local veterans react to overturned stolen valor conviction

A Medal of Honor on display at the Armed Forces Retirement Home. (Image Source: WLOX News) A Medal of Honor on display at the Armed Forces Retirement Home. (Image Source: WLOX News)
These veterans say overturning the conviction is wrong. (Image Source: WLOX News) These veterans say overturning the conviction is wrong. (Image Source: WLOX News)
Uniforms on display at the AFRH in Gulfport. (Image Source: WLOX News) Uniforms on display at the AFRH in Gulfport. (Image Source: WLOX News)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

There's always a lot of talk about news among the veterans at the Armed Forces Retirement Home, but on Wednesday, the news brought a little more emotion to the conversation.

“When I first heard it I was flabbergasted, under the freedom of speech. What is the freedom of speech covering nowadays? Everything?” said Army Veteran Sandra Gann.

A man convicted of the stolen valor act - falsely claiming military accomplishments - had that conviction overturned by a federal judge. The reason: the ruling says it was a form of free speech protected by the Constitution.

“That means I could take this Medal of Honor right here, this medal, and wear it and say its freedom of speech and I didn't earn it. That's not right,” said Retired U.S. Marine Doris Denton.

Those who spent several years fighting in wars, and protecting the United States of America, are baffled at how anyone could get away with claiming such prestigious honors.

“We earned these things. We went to war to protect the United States of America and more than likely these judges that passed this law that said its okay. They probably never served,” said Retired Navy Veteran Franklin Rosenburgh.

“I just feel anybody that does that is not themselves, that can't project themselves to the world who they are, that annoys me, and especially being the importance of these awards that we receive,” said Gann.

Having the mutual understanding of what it takes to serve in the military, veterans agree that it's disheartening to hear that someone could get away with this type of dishonesty.
            
“Well that's not the way you do it. The way you do it is get in and fight for it,” said Rosenburgh.

The court ruling comes as judges overturned the stolen valor act conviction of a man wearing a purple heart he hadn't earned while testifying during a criminal court case.

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