I was deeply disturbed by the awarding of the "Purple Heart" to the three servicemen involved in the Serbian Conflict. I feel that it was a "slap in the face" to all our veterans. I've requested that a sincere apology be extended to our veterans -- even though the damage has already been done.
I've also requested that the "Purple Heart" never again be treated so flagrantly.
The following letter was sent to President Clinton regarding the misuse of the "Purple Heart".
"Dear President Clinton,
"I am writing to you on behalf of all our veterans who have unselfishly served their country in war with courage, honor and dignity in order that we may have liberty and freedom.
"For those veterans that have given their precious lives and left families behind to grieve and cope, for those veterans that came back wounded and maimed who never complained, and for those still missing in action whose names most Americans don't even know -- I apologize and am ashamed that the Purple Heart which signifies the ultimate in sacrifice, courage and honor has been so desecrated and dishonored by being bestowed upon those, in my opinion, who do not deserve or have the right to wear it! (Maybe it's easy to pass out purple hearts as though they were mementos for attending a White House dinner, but that attitude can only come from people who have never jeopardized or sacrificed their lives, faced real combat in a war, or tried desperately to "save a buddy".)
"I am angry, and can't bear to see the sadness and pain inflicted upon our veterans. Once more they are called upon to sacrifice silently and to give up something sacred - the true meaning of the "Purple Heart" so that a nation can enjoy instant gratification, a media can exploit illegitimate heroes, and government leaders can seize the opportunity to tug at the American heartstrings in order to justify a costly and undeclared war.
"Our veterans did not suffer the cruelties and indignities of war for media attention, political agendas or superficial honors; they did it for you, me and their beloved country.
"The real heart of this country is our veterans. You may take the purple from their hearts, but you will never, never, take the heart out of a veteran.
"President Clinton, we owe an apology to our veterans and we need to promise them that our country will never again flagrantly dishonor or degrade their courage and valor.
Lois J. Atkin
America Legion Post #69 Auxiliary Member