For Immediate Release
Washington DC - July 8, 2015
Purple Heart Recipients Urge Denial of Medal to Oklahoma City Bombing Victims
The Military Order of the Purple Heart of the USA, a Veteran Service Organization composed exclusively of combat wounded servicemen and women who received the Purple Heart medal for their service and sacrifice on the battlefield against the enemies of the United States, is dismayed by and adamantly opposed to language included in the House version of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, now being considered in joint conference, that would award the Purple Heart medal to victims of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
While the MOPH is sympathetic to the loss suffered by the families and friends of the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing, and especially those who were serving at the time in the Armed Forces of the U.S. it cannot support or condone award of America’s oldest and most venerated combat decoration for an act of pure domestic violence. The attack on the Federal Building which killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others on April 19, 1995 was carried out by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols solely in retaliation for a perceived Federal Government mishandling of the 1993 siege of Ruby Ridge, and was timed to coincide with the second anniversary of the deadly fire that ended the siege in Waco, TX.
The criteria for award of the Purple Heart medal has been constant and clear – it is awarded only to those who are killed or wounded in combat. In recent years the criteria has been extended to accommodate a change in warfare that has brought the battlefield to our own shores in the form of international terrorism. The MOPH has fully supported award of the Purple Heart to victims in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and the 2009 Ft. Hood, TX, and the Little Rock AR Recruiting Station shootings because these incidents were clearly inspired or motivated by international terrorist organizations. The Oklahoma City bombing had nothing to do with combat on the battlefield or international terrorism.
As conferees from the House and Senate Armed Services Committees meet this week to consider differences in the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act, MOPH urges them to reject this amendment that would cheapen the intent and importance of the Purple Heart medal and denigrate its meaning for those who have received it for their sacrifices to protect the freedoms that all Americans enjoy.
For information contact:
National Public Relations Director, John Bircher, (352) - 753-5535
National Legislative Director, Hershel Gober, (202) 550-2491