While I have never done so, there were times I found myself wishing that I had fought in Vietnam and not merely written about it, and for several years after I returned home I felt guilty for having made such a small sacrifice compared to friends who were killed or physically or emotionally scarred from combat.
This bring us to the story of Louis Lowell McGuinn, who came home from Vietnam a private but passed himself off as a lieutenant colonel who wore a dress blue uniform to fancy functions bemedaled with a Purple Heart, Silver Star and Distinguished Service Cross, among other decorations he never got and didn't deserve.McGuinn, 68, of Flushing, Queens, is among the first people to be prosecuted under the Stolen Valor Act, which became law in January.
McGuinn's trial was to begin in U.S. District Court in Manhattan yesterday, but he entered a guilty plea and his attorney said "it was time to let the past be the past and get this behind us." McGuinn faces up to six months in prison when he is sentenced next month.
The FBI's Washington headquarters receives at least 15 tips a week about fake heroes. It investigates the tips and, on average, more than a hundred each year lead to pretenders.