27 May 1996 Five Medal of Honor Winners Call on President Clinton to Withdraw Claim of Armed Military Service
This is the full text of a letter sent May 27, 1996 by five Medal of Honor winners to President Bill Clinton asking the President to withdraw his claim, filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in the Paula Corbin Jones case, that his service as President entitles him to the coverage as active duty military. Mr. Clinton is seeking to have all lawsuits against him delayed until after his service as president under the terms of the 1940 Soldiers’ and Saliors’ Civil Relief Act.
This letter appeared as a full-page ad in sixteen newspapers and several military publications during the week of Memorial Day 1996. It was paid for by the Coalition of American Veterans, a group of approximately 100,000 members. The Medal of Honor is an award first presented not long after the Civil War that requires two witnesses to an act beyond the call of duty that risks death. 3,420 of these awards have been presented in U.S. history, nearly half of them during the civil war. Less than 200 Medal of Honor winners remain living in America today.
“May 27, 1996
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
Liberty is the inspiration behind the sacrifices made by the men and women of our armed services. It is the ideal that spawns the courage to defend freedom, and we honor on Memorial Day those who have gone before in defense of that freedom.
The contribution of those who did not return cannot be measured or repaid, and it is the duty of the living to preserve the memory of that service. It is for this reason we respectfully request you withdraw your claim to armed service under the Solders’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1940 in defense of the embarassing legal charges confronting you today.
It is neither our place nor our desire to render judgement on the nature of the lawsuit against you, nor the legal basis for using the Act in your defense. However, we cannot betray the memory of our fallen comrades by remaining silent on this issue. Your attempt to use a law designed for the brave men and women in uniform is indefensible.
To retreat from the call to arms and then later embrace its code when it is convenient is an outrage to all who served. It is a distasteful irony that you would invoke the Act at a time when we remember those who gave their lives while wearing the uniform of the American military you once professed to “loath.”
Mr. President, please hear the call of those who wore with honor the uniform of our nation. Withdraw your use of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act.
Pat Brady, MG, USA, (Ret.) MH
Ernest Childers, Col., USA, (Ret.) MH
James F. Baker, Jr., MSGT, USA, (Ret.) MH
James R. Hendrix, MSGT, USA, (Ret.) MH
Elliot Williams, BMC, USN, (Ret.) MH
Paid for by the Coalition of American Veterans”