Editorial, by David Van Risseghem, publisher. -
It would appear that Rep. Dr Mike Ritze like the vast majority of former military members; may have casually misrepresented to some folks about the nature of his military service; but there is no record of Ritze falsely claiming a battle injury.
He may have been loose with other anecdotes. I don't suppose this is the first or last time that a veteran embellished a war story or his military exploits. I have several relatives who can spin a tale that would make even Davy Crockett blush.
But all military documents support that he did serve as a medical officer for years. Even his biggest antagonists don't refute his veteran status. He reports his service as spanning the cold war era of 1977-1983.
He was given a gift membership by some other veterans group leaders, into a non govt. fraternity, The Disabled American Veterans. That fraternity's national leadership just now, after nearly 30 years; decided that those who bestowed the honor upon him (for caring for the injured in uniform) didn't follow all the rules. It's now clear to Dr. Ritze that he would have to have sustained a certified service-related injury, to be given that gift.
The DAV apologized to Mike Ritze for their mistake. Many years ago Mike graciously accepted an invite and lifetime honor. We have no idea if he ever knew that those others were ignoring This national fraternity's rules.
It appears that an affiliate club within the national DAV organization also had a laxed attitude about the pins they circulated at their gatherings. One such pin is described as a commemorative pin in honor of those injured or deceased in action. There are no federal or state laws governing this free expression (so long as it is not a clear counterfeit article), but a couple adversarial lawmakers would have us all thinking otherwise.
Republican Political Activity
As a teen, I was a member of the Sons of the American Legion and marched with them in parades, as an expression of honor to veterans. I never served in the military, yet I honored them however I could.
I have worn commemorative expressions of honor of my father's service. I and others will continue to, regardless of the hissyfits of the very few veteran pharisees who seek to put outrageous dress code rules upon the rest of society. It is clear from political reporting that a couple legislators are furious at Ritze for other petty political motivations.
My father was a 40 year member of the DAV. The organization strongly advocates for quality medical care for those suffering health problems related to military service. Those DAV members have such high regard for the medical corps. Many of the disabled soldiers have stories of great heroism of the medical corps, saving their lives.
- David Van Risseghem