With Stolen Valor Law Tossed, New Website to Verify Honors
As the Twin Cities prepares for a "Heroes Weekend" of events honoring Minnesota's veterans, the Department of Defense Wednesday unveiled a new website that will allow people to verify claims of military honors in the wake of a Supreme Court decision last month that invalidated a law that made it a crime to lie about being awarded a medal.
"Our hope is that this will help protect the honor of those who serve the United States in battle," said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as he testified before Congress earlier in the day announcing the website's launch.
The new website, still under development, is at valor.defense.gov.
"Absolutely, it's a great step and we have high hopes that it'll work," said Mark Seavey, who tracks cases of stolen valor for the American Legion.
A man accused of marching in a LaCrosse, WI, parade in 2010 while wearing an Army uniform with Major rank insignia and combat badges was charged by the U.S. Attorney's office under the Stolen Valor Act, a law which was recently declared unconstitutional by the highest court in the country.
A spokesperson at the U.S. Attorney's Office for Western Wisconsin told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Wednesday the single-count complaint against Gary A. Spors will be dismissed soon. Spors could not be reached for comment.
In the Twin Cities, a "Heroes Parade" for veterans and their families will march along Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis beginning at 11a on Saturday. Click here for more information.
Organizer Ericka Palmer, whose father was an Army veteran, came up with the idea to show gratitude, she said, to other veterans.
"I felt it was important to bring together a community and say, 'Thank You'," Palmer explained during an interview in her Minneapolis apartment, while surrounded by posters, banners, and buttons for Saturday's parade.
Watch our story above to hear from the organizer of the Twin Cities Heroes Parade.