What’s in a name? Well, when it comes to calling yourself a veteran, wearing a shirt embroidered with a Purple Heart and walking around saluting your douche bag friends, a lot.
We have been following this story since our friends at Stolen Valor broke it last week. It seems that a group of post-high school teens have incorporated the term “veteran” and many military “styles” into a clothing line they are pushing. In addition, the “crew” have taken it upon themselves to turn the time honored rendering of respect, also known as the salute, into a glorified gang sign for club going Jersey Shore rejects.
At the heart of the issue is the use of the word “veteran” and the connontations it raises. By itself yes, we can agree with the clothing “designers” that the word itself does carry many meanings and you can be a veteran of something other than the military – however, when you put it into context of producing clothing under a label with a slogan of “Salute Me” you are playing off of the military association of the name.
The military is not something that should ever be viewed of as a trend or fashionable – to do so underscores the serious commitment and ultimately the sacrifice that those who serve make.
Veterans across the country have banded together calling for a boycott of the label until the company drops the military association and change their name. Bulldog 1 from Stolen Valor simply put that all they want is for veterans clothing to, “stop associating the company with Veterans.”
This may seem like an easy task, but Billy Turong, the CEO of veterans clothing, seems to take this all as a joke – even to the point of mocking the angry veterans that have taken issue with his usage of the term stating on his Twitter page, “Hate all you want. Numbers come up & donations will still be given.”
Obviously these boys are young and showing their age – however, we may be a small community but we are powerful. Mr. Turong may forget that in order for his clothing line to be successful he needs to be able to sell his products in stores. The campaign against veterans clothing has just begun and we stand with our brothers at Stolen Valor in condemning the use of the Veteran name and military associations by this company.
(For detailed information please refer to the Stolen Valor story on their website Gaurdian of Valor)
***** UPDATE 29 August 2012 *****
Foxnews is now covering this story – check it out here!