Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tin Soldiers and Commemorative Medals

As I have outlined in the past, I am disgusted with people who wear medals they did not earn. I don't understand the need for someone to wear a military medal or ribbon when it wasn't presented to them. If you have to buy it, you don't deserve it. Be proud of your service as it was. People already love and respect veterans as long as they have served their country with honor. However, all of the good that was done goes out the window when you start to lie about your service.

Recently I have seen more and more people requesting to wear "Commemorative Medals". There are a few specific companies on the internet that, in order to bump up their profits, have begun to sell awards that just plain don't exist. I find this despicable. There is no reason to sell fake awards other than to scam veterans and their families out of a few extra bucks. They're not cheap either, often times they are sold for more than an actual issued medal would cost. This is just blatant highway robbery.


Here is one of the most common commemorative medal requested. The "Cold War Victory Medal". Some people are convinced it is a real award, mainly because one of the main companies selling it (rhymes with shmedals of shma-shmerica.com) has been trying to sling it to unsuspecting people for years. Yet, all it is a chunk of brass they sell you for $17.95. Disgusting. What's even worse is that they will actually sell you a commemorative version of a real medal, just so they can get a few extra bucks. 

But the problem doesn't just rest upon these scumbag companies stealing from our nations heroes. There are a few people out their that will put these tin medals on their uniforms and wear them with "pride". I like to call these guys Tin Soldiers, because that is all they really are. If they really stood for something, they wouldn't need a piece of military ribbon hanging off their chest. Our true heroes don't serve everyday for awards. They do it because it's the right thing to do.

Take Connie Pillich, a state representative in Ohio. An Air Force veteran, she has been known to wear a version of her ribbon rack while campaigning. Already breaking the uniform code, its too bad she hasn't had the Air Force catch her yet. Unfortunately, she doesn't stop there. She couldn't just be happy with the service she provided. You can plainly see on her chest a ribbon rack of 18 ribbons, of which by my count 10 are commemorative medals. This is just about as low as one can go, and it pisses me off to see it in elected officials.

Connie Pillich, and other Tin Soldiers everywhere, YOU'RE WEARING IT WRONG!

Now I also want to differentiate commemorative items from commemorative medals. My friends at Ez Rack Builder sell Tiny Ribbon Racks, a version of your military ribbons, just in a smaller form. There is no fake awards on these, they are just not approved for uniform wear. They look great on a suit jacket or a hat though!


4 comments:

  1. I'm creating a shadowbox in memory of my grandfather. I feel the same as you do on these fake medals. However, since, for example, a PUC and a Honorable Service Lapel Button don't have any actual medal associated with them.. I'm kind of thinking... "well.. he did earn those.. wouldn't it be nice to throw in there, official or not?" but then I'm thinking "this is gonna make it not authentic and cheap looking".. Thoughts?

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    1. You absolutely have to include those in the shadowbox. The PUC signifies that your Grandfather served in a Unit that completed such a valorous act, that had it been an individual achievement, it would have been worthy of the Medal of Honor. We are all made better by the people we serve with, and I am sure he served with pride as part of this unit (and may have even taken part in the action).

      THis goes the same for the Honorable Service Lapel Button (Ruptured Duck). While it may have been of small significance at the time, it was still an honor that was bestowed upon him. There are people that were never awarded it, so it does have some value in my eyes. When creating shadowboxes, I believe that its always nice to include everything you can, even little things like the Lapel Letters and branch insignia. It helps paint the full picture of the service members service, and gives the opportunity for others to investigate everything in the box. By including everything we can, it can help turn the box into a teaching tool for future generations, and everyone the opportunity to get to know your grandfather at a defining point in his life.

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    2. You absolutely have to include those in the shadowbox. The PUC signifies that your Grandfather served in a Unit that completed such a valorous act, that had it been an individual achievement, it would have been worthy of the Medal of Honor. We are all made better by the people we serve with, and I am sure he served with pride as part of this unit (and may have even taken part in the action).

      THis goes the same for the Honorable Service Lapel Button (Ruptured Duck). While it may have been of small significance at the time, it was still an honor that was bestowed upon him. There are people that were never awarded it, so it does have some value in my eyes. When creating shadowboxes, I believe that its always nice to include everything you can, even little things like the Lapel Letters and branch insignia. It helps paint the full picture of the service members service, and gives the opportunity for others to investigate everything in the box. By including everything we can, it can help turn the box into a teaching tool for future generations, and everyone the opportunity to get to know your grandfather at a defining point in his life.

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    3. "If you have to buy it, you don't deserve it." My ex-wife has all my medals and it isn't worth the hassle to try to get them. So I buy them.

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