Saturday, June 30, 2012

Supreme Court Says NO to Stolen Valor Law

On Thursday the Supreme Court ruled that the Stolen Valor Act of 2006 was an infringement of the
First Amendment protecting free speech.  By a vote of 6-3 the justices decided that it is okay to lie
about military service and honors and awards.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority "fundamental constitutional principles require that
laws enacted to honor the brave must be consistent with the precepts of the Constitution for which
they fought" and that "statutes suppressing or restricting speech must be judged by the sometimes
inconvenient  principles of the First Amendment."

While the government has an interest in protecting the integrity of the Medal of Honor and other valorous decorations, the Stolen Valor Act was too "sweeping" and "quite unprecedented" in attempting to prosecute people for merely lying, he wrote.
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, and Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. joined Kennedy in the opinion.
"The statute seeks to control and suppress all false statements on this one subject in almost limitless times and settings," Kennedy's opinion states. "And it does so entirely without regard to whether the lie was made for the purpose of material gain."
Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan ruled the law unconstitutional but left open the possibility they would reconsider if the law was rewritten.
The law was written by U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Colorado, and signed in 2006 by President George W. Bush, making it a federal misdemeanor to falsely represent oneself, in writing or speaking, as having received a military decoration
The opposing opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas said "the right to free speech does not protect false factual statements that inflict real harm and serve no legitimate interest."

They went on to say that the "proliferation of false claims about military awards blur the signal given out
by the actual awards by making them seem more common  than they really are."

A new Stolen Valor Act H.R. 1775 written by Congressman Joseph Heck with 52 cosponsors is in the
House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. And in the Senate is a bill
S.1728 with 2 cosponsors and is in the Committee on Judiciary.

So now it is imperative that we contact our Senators and Representatives and urge them to become
cosponsors to these bills, and that they push to have the bills passed out of committee to the floor
for a full vote.

Read more here:

---- Jerald Terwilliger National Chairman American Cold War Veterans "We Remember" ---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Purple Heart Homes to help veterans in North Carolina

STATESVILLE, N.C., Jun 18, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Purple Heart Homes will participate in the Second Annual Veterans on Wall Street Conference and Job Fair Thursday, June 21 at Cipriani Atrium, 55 Wall Street to discuss housing solutions with interested Service Connected Disabled Veterans ( )
"Many veterans with a Service Connected Disabilities might find a job that requires relocation or they may need help with adaptations to their existing home" said Dale Beatty, Co-founder of Purple Heart Homes. "We offer three housing programs for Veterans with a 10 percent to one hundred percent VA disability rating," Beatty added.
Purple Heart Homes, a non-profit organization based in Statesville, NC has three programs for Service Connected Disabled Veterans:
-- Veterans New Home Program - provides pre-engineered homes and financing on land the veteran already owns or the organization works with the veteran to find a site where the veteran wants to live.
-- Veterans Home Owners Program - created for returning Iraq and Afghanistan Service Connected Disabled Veterans is a hand up not a hand out. Purple Heart Homes receives gifted foreclosed homes that are adapted for each veteran's disability. The veteran pays a mortgage at 50% of the current home market value.
-- Veterans Aging in Place Program created to help older veterans who own their own home by making bathrooms accessible, hallways and doorways wider and putting in ramps where steps have become obstacles.
Interested veterans should apply online at to fill out a brief application. They must provide proof of service with their DD214 and their VA disability rating.
"We don't leave our injured veterans behind on the battlefield. We should not leave them behind at home," said John Gallina Co-founder of Purple Heart Homes.
Dale Beatty and John Gallina enlisted in the North Carolina National Guard when they were 17 years old. During their service to our nation, both Beatty and Gallina responded to calls from the Governor to help victims of Hurricane Fran and Hurricane Floyd. The experience provided both of them with a sense of mission and real commitment to community. They responded again to the call of duty from former President Bush to defend our country against terrorism during Operation Iraqi Freedom. They were both 25 years old at the time.
On November 15, 2004 the vehicle they were riding in hit an anti tank mine that exploded leaving Beatty a double amputee below the knees and Gallina with severe back injuries, TBI and PTSD.
Today the two combat wounded veterans remain on a mission to provide housing solutions for service connected disabled veterans through Purple Heart Homes the non-profit they co-founded in 2008.
To learn more go to or call 855-PURPLE 9
To apply for housing solution click on 'application for assistance.'
SOURCE: Purple Heart Homes

---- Jerald Terwilliger National Chairman American Cold War Veterans "We Remember" ---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996

Monday, June 18, 2012

Asbestos Exposure among U.S. Veterans and the Health Effects

When veterans return home from active service back to the country they served so diligently, they seldom think that the dangers they encountered while on active duty will still put them at risk. A very real danger that many veterans are unaware of is asbestos exposure.

Asbestos can withstand heat, chemical corrosion and is a poor conductor of electricity. For this reason, it was used in military insulation, fire proofing and in vehicle and weapon parts. However, when asbestos is damaged or disturbed, inhaled or ingested fibers can cause severe illnesses including deadly cancers.

This toxic material was found in abundance on Army proving grounds, Navy battleships and in military bases all over the world. Veterans of several wars including the Vietnam War, Korean War and especially World War II were all exposed to asbestos regularly. During the Cold War, rearmament asbestos use reached 1,800 million pounds annually and its use did not decrease until after the 1970s, endangering Cold War veterans.

Navy veterans and shipyard workers were at the highest risk for asbestos exposure. In World War II alone, 5,000 merchant vessels were produced in American shipyards and in 1943 the U.S. Navy launched 30,000 warships. Boilers and water pipes aboard these ships were insulated with asbestos. The paint on these vessels also used asbestos. Many of these ships remained in use well beyond the 1970s.

Health Effects of Asbestos Exposure
After asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. The most deadly of these is mesothelioma cancer.

Mesothelioma tumors grow in the linings of internal organs. Most mesothelioma sufferers have pleural mesothelioma, and it affects the lining of the lungs. The symptoms of this disease include chest pain, difficulty breathing, persistent dry cough, excessive fluid in the lungs and unexplained weight loss.
The symptoms of this disease often take 10 to 50 years from the date of initial exposure to surface, and by the time it is diagnosed the tumor is usually in later stages. Usually, the earlier mesothelioma is diagnosed, the better the treatment options and prognosis. Veterans can contact their local VA center for asbestos disease health screenings.

Bio: Michelle Y. Llamas researches and writes about asbestos and its related diseases for the Mesothelioma Center.

Hedley – Whyte, J. & Milamed, D. R. (2008) Asbestos and ship-building: Fatal consequences. Retrieved from

---- Jerald Terwilliger National Chairman American Cold War Veterans "We Remember" ---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996

Thursday, June 14, 2012

National Defense Authorization Act-NDAA and Mystery of The Cold War Medal

The question must be asked! Why has a Cold War Service Medal been authorized and issued?

In 1999 Congress expressed appreciation to Cold War Veterans and decided that a certificate
was in order to honor those who served between Sept. 1945 and Dec. 1991, the era known as
"The Cold War."

This certificate makes no mention of military service and is available to anyone who worked for
the U.S. government during this long struggle to contain Communism. Most veterans did not feel
that this was a just recognition of their service. In fact as of late 2010 only about 2.5 million
certificates were issued. That is out of approximately 25 million veterans, and untold millions of
government employees.

Yet the Department of Defense, and some members of Congress continue to flaunt this in our face
as a thing to be proud of; something all Cold Warriors should want.

The NDAA for 2002 contained a provision for the Cold War Victory Medal, both the Senate
and House approved the bill, and it was signed into law. DoD declared they would not issue
a Cold War Medal.

Then in the NDAA for 2006, 2011 and 2012 provisions were once again written; either by the
House or the Senate in their separate versions of that years NDAA. Sadly these provisions were
removed during the Senate/House conference meetings. When members were asked for reasons
the medal was taken out, no concrete answer was given. Nobody would admit where the blame
lay, and/or why that action was taken.

Over the years there have been a minimum of 20 bills introduced in the Senate and House
(including some that were amendments to the NDAA) that would have authorized a Cold War
Victory/Service Medal. None of them were passed, many had been sent to the Armed Services
Committees of the House and Senate; where these bills sat and gathered dust and allowed to
die. These bills never saw a vote, were not passed out of committee.

Now this year neither the House nor the Senate version of the NDAA contain a mention of a
Cold War Medal.

Our questions are why? How long will these brave men and women be denied? Do people no
longer remember the Cold War and why it was waged? Is there some deep dark secret that
prevents authorizing this medal? Will Cold War Veterans always be shunted aside and swept
into the dust bin?

America stand up now for these forgotten heroes! Do not let them vanish into the dark, dismal
pages of history. And yes, the revisionists continue to attempt to re-write history as if there
never was a Cold War.

Tell your Senators and Representatives to finally recognize and honor those who defended
your freedom. Authorize a Cold War Service Medal. Use the POPVOX links on the
right to contact your elected officials now.

---- Jerald Terwilliger National Chairman American Cold War Veterans "We Remember" ---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996