On Memorial Day, 75-year-old Robert Ford started his day the same way he has for years now. He dressed in full military uniform and regalia and headed out to attend the Harrisburg, Pa., memorial wreath-laying ceremony. Every year, a wreath is laid on the Susquehanna River; and Ford plays Taps on his bugle.
Ford is a fourth-generation veteran. He served in the Marine Corps from 1958 to 1964. His father served in World War II, his grandfather served in World War I, and his great-grandfather played the bugle at General Lee’s surrender to General Grant at Appomattox.
After playing for the ceremony, Ford, still in uniform, decided to stroll through the Arts Fest that takes place in downtown Harrisburg. He was walking when he was approached by a Harrisburg Police detective.
Detective John O’Connor asked if Ford was a Marine and also asked which boot camp he attended. After O’Connor asked those questions, he left. Ford continued walking. He claimed that 15 minutes passed before the officer returned.
When the officer returned, he claimed that he was investigating a case of ‘stolen valor.’ Ford stated that he “felt it was kind of insulting.”
Stolen valor is when a person falsely claims he or she was in the military. It is a federal crime to impersonate anyone who served in any of the branches of military.
Ford stated: “It was humiliating, a nightmare.” He even showed the detective his veterans ID card. The detective promptly dismissed it as a fake.
According to city spokesperson Joyce Davis, “The officer himself did not instigate or incite any accusations,” but “simply responded and attempted to ask a few questions.”
All Ford wanted was an apology, which he still has not received. Ford said: ”I’m here standing up for every veteran, that hopefully it doesn’t happen to them…in my case, they picked the wrong person.”
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth