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Commercials show disrespect for soldiers

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By Moreland Jeff

I don't normally pay a lot of attention to commercials on TV. When they come on, I usually leave the room to do something like make a trip to the fridge. But one collection of commercials airing on national TV recently caught my attention, and I have to say I don't like them.

Navy Federal Credit Union has been advertising its business, which offers financial services such as home and auto loans, checking and savings accounts and more, to members of the military.

The first commercial I saw got my attention because, in my opinion, it was intentionally misleading, and at the same time, disrespectful to our soldiers and veterans.

The commercial starts off with a man wearing a khaki cap and a greenish-colored shirt. His outfit, along with the background of the scene and the words he speaks, immediately make listeners believe he is in a war zone, serving his country.

His lines begin with the man saying, "This is my first tour. I didn't quite know what to expect. I'd seen the images on TV, but until you're in the thick of it ... anyway, the guys in my unit who had been here before told me to just ride it out, keep my head down, and remember the reason I'm here."

I'm willing to wager that I'm not the only viewer who immediately thought this man was at war, perhaps risking his life for his country. As the commercial winds down, it reveals that the man and his family are actually enjoying a ride at an amusement park.

Another commercial for the same company shows a woman dressed in green military style clothing and standing in an airplane hangar. There are planes that appear to be military jets behind her.

"The decision was made. We were making a move. We had to. We knew that if we came in too high, it would cost us big time. We had to stay low."

That's how the woman's lines begin. She continues, saying, "And boy, did we. We locked it in and rode that low rate from Navy Federal Credit Union all the way to our first house. It's a split-level ranch. It's so cute."

These commercials bothered me because, in my opinion, they made light of the service of soldiers and were using the drama of what appeared to be war, only to reveal a trip to an amusement park or the purchase of a house.

After thinking about the commercials, I decided to do some research about Navy Federal Credit Union. According to the company's website, it only serves members of the military, but it is not affiliated with the federal government. The site also uses photos of soldiers, but adds a disclaimer at the footer of the site that says, "Images used for representational purposes only. Does not imply government endorsement."

I think it's tasteless for Navy Federal Credit Union to use scenes that make it appear that a person is in a war, when that person, who is likely an actor, is actually safe at home enjoying an amusement park, buying a home or doing anything other than fighting a war.

I'm sure the soldiers serving our country would love to be at an amusement park with their family members, or almost anywhere other than in the line of enemy fire. But they chose to serve their country, and they do it with pride and dignity, two things that exist nowhere in the commercials I believe mock that service.

And even worse, Navy Federal Credit Union does all of this in an attempt to solicit business and make money from the real soldiers who are in harm's way, and that's just a shame.