While at a funeral this past week, I met a lady who is a psychiatrist at the VA in Oklahoma City. When I learned where she is employed, I said: I receive most of my healthcare at the VA in Wichita. She asked me: “Did you serve during Viet Nam?”
I never give just a “yes” or “no” answer when I am asked this question. My standard reply is: “I served during Viet Nam, but not in Viet Nam.”
I am careful to make this distinction because of something called “stolen valor.” This is unethical behavior that makes false claims about a person’s military service or the wearing of unauthorized and unearned medals.
Stolen valor has been in the news because of false claims made by Brian Williams who claimed fan RPG hit the helicopter he was in while in Iraq in 2003. Not only did Williams tell this lie, he has stayed true to it. His fraudulent claim has raised the dandruff of Tom Brokaw who has called on NBC to fire Williams.
Mr. Williams’ quest for fame has left him labeled as a mythomane. This lie has tarnished all the truths he has told and questioned the essence of his integrity. The problem with lies, even the white ones, is that they eventually leave you blind to the brilliant colors of truth.
People who perpetuate a lie remind me of what Solomon said in the Proverbs: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”
The tall tales told by Brian Williams may dock the tail of his career.