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Purple Heart
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Washington charges extra for Purple Heart honoree

A Purple Heart is awarded to soldiers wounded or killed in battle. (Rockin'Rita, FLickr)
LISTEN: Purple Heart recipient David Buckner is upset with a new bill just received

David Buckner was wounded, twice, serving his country as an Army medic. He received a Purple Heart for each instance. Now, Washington state wants to charge him for it.

“Well, it just torqued me off, generally, when I found this out,” he told the Dori Monson Show. “I just don’t feel it’s right.”

“I was flabbergasted because when they sent me my new (car) registration there wasn’t anything on there,” he said. “When my wife went down there to register, they said it’s an extra $30.”

Monson focus: Washington taxes
Taxes trickling down into renters’ pockets
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Renter choosing between rent and car tabs
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Making $100K a year and struggling to support a family

Buckner spent 22 years as an Army medic. During that time he earned the Silver Star, two Bronzes Stars, and a medal of valor, among other honors. He also received the Purple Heart — twice. One is for his action in 1968 saving the life of another soldier in Vietnam. His legs were wounded by shrapnel, but he still crawled and dragged another man off the battlefield.

Today, he is a Thurston County resident with special Purple Heart license plates on each of his two cars.

“I got mine when they first came out, just to let people know that I was combat wounded,” he said. “Under this new law they just passed, you can have one Purple Heart plate, but if you want another one for your other car, then you have to pay $30 a year for it. They’re not giving you a plate, they are just giving you a little sticker.”

Washington’s Purple Heart license plate law was modified last June. Honorees like Buckner now have to pay $30 a year for the second plate.

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