John Kerry (search), a decorated Navy veteran criticized by Republicans for his anti-war activities during the Vietnam era, lashed out at President Bush on Monday for failing to prove whether he fulfilled his commitment to the National Guard during the same period.

Conservative critics have questioned whether Kerry deserved his three Purple Hearts for battle wounds, an issue the Democratic presidential candidate sought to put to rest last week by releasing his military records. On Sunday, a top Bush adviser criticized Kerry for leading anti-war protests after he returned from the battlefield.

"If George Bush wants to ask me questions about that through his surrogates, he owes America an explanation about whether or not he showed up for duty in the National Guard. Prove it. That's what we ought to have," Kerry told NBC News in an interview. "I'm not going to stand around and let them play games."

Service and Symbols: Important, or Inconsequential?

A sample of your responses:

John Kerry's attempts to downplay the growing criticism of his behavior, including the medals controversy, after returning from Vietnam are not the actions of a hero. To the contrary, for Kerry, a privileged son of Harvard, to argue there is no distinction between medals and ribbons is both
duplicitous and irrelevant. Throwing away either while men were fighting and dying in Vietnam was degrading and contemptible.
W. T. Hewes
Col. USMC (Ret)

If Kerry had really “earned” those medals, there is no way he would have thrown them away. As an ex Army medic with 21 years of experience, I know that  a “wound” treated with bacitracin does not warrant a Purple Heart. To throw these medals away is like spitting on the American Flag and on the graves of fallen soldiers. You have to ask yourself, do you want this man to be Commander In Chief of The U.S. Armed Forces?
Reggie W.
San Antonio, TX

John Kerry not only served honorably in Vietnam, he then had the courage to tell the truth about what was happening in that war, trying to prevent the needless loss of more young American lives.
George Bush and Dick Cheney ran from serving their country like a pair of little girls, and now seem to enjoy sending soldiers to die while they hide in their air conditioned retreats. There's never been a clearer case of cowardice on display.

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