Welcome back to the CGS blog. This episode is the second part of Betty and Barney Hill’s incredible story. In the first episode we talk about what supposedly happened. In this episode we break down the aftermath. Barney Hill was a broken shell of a man when he passed away. Betty hung on to her story but as time passed, she became somewhat discredited due to her increasingly bizarre behavior. This abduction story brought both Betty and Barney nothing but misery.
As I thought about their story, I began to think about the challenges of telling your story. As a veteran, there are few things worse than being suspected of stolen valor. For those who don’t know, stolen valor is the act of inventing military service or at least embellishing it. This isn’t a new phenomenon, it’s just a new name. History is littered with the stories of men who pretended to be something more than they were.
My military service up until 2013 was unremarkable. I didn’t single handedly charge a bunker with nothing but an MRE spoon. I didn’t rescue hostages from an LA high-rise while fighting off terrorists with vaguely German accents. Until the day of the Boston Marathon Bombing, I assumed my career would end with a whimper, not a bang.
After the bombing, I experienced a crazy chain of events that led to me receiving an award, along with 20 other soldiers, from the General of the Massachusetts Army National Guard. I wrote about it on http://www.thebrandedsports.com. I also took a picture of the award and the accompanying documents because I was certain that no one would believe me.
Recently on Twitter, I was called a “fake ass veteran” by another vet. The fear struck me immediately. I was ready to drop pictures and documents. I was ready to call out names, places, and dates that only veterans would know. Then I stopped myself. There are enough people in the world who know who I am and what I’ve done. There are over 160 soldiers who knew my name because we worked together for years.
Betty and Barney didn’t have that. They didn’t have pieces of alien technology. There were no cell phone images. There were no witnesses. All they had were foggy memories and their own unanswered questions. I think every single person in the US can identify with that feeling in one way or another. Regardless of your beliefs, you have experienced the specter of others doubting your sincerity probably more so now than at any other time in American history. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the episode.