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An article in the Mountain Democrat regarding the issuance of veteran’s cards is alarming to me.
Four years ago, the Friends of the Veterans Monument spent hundreds of hours of effort to prevent a non-veteran from gaining honoraria space in the monument. The interim director of the Veteran Service Office was not helpful in those efforts. While I have no material objection to the issuance of cards, I am very concerned that their issuance could lead to confusion about what the definition of a veteran is.
The Friends have relied on U.S. Code title 38 to define eligibility. The staff of the VSO should be very aware that DD Form 214 are issued to both veterans and some non-veterans and does not, by itself, constitute eligibility to be classified as a veteran.
There have been several legislative attempts to facilitate criminal prosecution of those who would obfuscate their service record to gain benefit. Most recently, the Stolen Valor Act of 2013 was signed into law by President Obama. While H.R. 283 is focused on false claims regarding medals and honoraria, there is other pending legislation that would more directly prohibit the use of veteran identification cards by individuals who are not veterans as defined by Title 38 or appropriate federal and state law.
I ask that the VSO take every precaution necessary to prevent becoming complicit in the issuance of any identification that would misclassify any non-veteran as a veteran or lead to diminishment of the honor and privilege of serving in the armed forces of the United States for the cause of freedom. The EDC Veterans card does not in itself constitute eligibility for inclusion in the Veterans Monument.
RICHARD W. BUCHANAN
Friend of the Veterans Monument