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Vets Protest Couple Buying Purple Heart For Boy

Mon., Nov. 13, 1995, midnight

A dozen veterans protested outside the home of a couple who threw an elaborate military-style birthday party for their 6-year-old son and bought him a Purple Heart for $50.

“It made me angry when I thought of my dad and everyone else who laid in the jungle or the snow, suffering, to get that medal,” said Barry Willette, whose father received the Purple Heart in the Battle of the Bulge.

Bill and Robin Lanting weren’t around for the Veterans Day protest. Instead, Chris Noel, a former radio show host for the Armed Forces Network, intervened on their behalf. Her program “A Date With Chris” cheered American troops in Vietnam.

She said the Lantings were sorry and that their son, Chase, would never wear his medal. She said Mrs. Lanting admitted she made a mistake.

The Oct. 22 party cost $6,000 and included National Guardsmen and military vehicles.

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