A 66-year-old Vietnam veteran who was invited to a Veterans Day program at his granddaughter’s school was met with an unexpected confrontation at a Charlotte airport Saturday from a group of Marines who accused the man of being a fake.
“All of a sudden he jumps up and he’s got a camera in my face screaming, ‘Your medals are crooked. You’re a fake. You’re not a marine,’” said Jack Hughes. “He kept screaming at me, telling me I was nothing, that everything I had was fake. I was a fake and phony.”
Hughes, a Marine who served during the Vietnam War, was wearing a suit jacket proudly displaying his medals, which included two Purple Hearts. Hughes admitted that the war several decades ago left him both emotionally and physically damaged, and the unfriendly encounter he recently experienced took him right back to the 1960s when servicemen returning from the war were typically met with a not so friendly “welcome home.” Hughes said the Marines jerked him around and ripped the buttons off of his jacket – treatment he expected back then, but not now.
Hughes said he even took out his ID from the V.A. and showed the men that he was indeed a real Marine and not an imposter. Shortly thereafter, the men realized they had made a mistake. Hughes said the man that did most of the yelling looked shamefully at him as if he had been a fool.
“I told him, I said, ‘You can shove it, buddy.’ I said, ‘How many other people have you done this way?’” he recalled.
Hughes said he is upset that the police who responded to the dispute failed to do anything, but even more upset that he was the target of what was intended to be a public shaming.
“All the veterans – they need support. They don’t need these gangsters going out trying to hurt people,” Hughes said. “If there’s something wrong, a veteran should help a vet. If my medals were a little crooked he should have come up to me and said, ‘Hey buddy, can I help you straighten these out?’”
[ KLTV ]