Whoo hoo, a Purple Heart and the Congressional Medal of Honor gets you a thousand bucks to buy H-D chingaderos. In return, H-D gets a shiny chrome halo and lots of media coverage. That smells like exploitation of genuine patriots to me (H-D master mechanic). One hopes the real heroes won't lend their laurels to this crap.
Sure beats the proverbial stick in the eye other companies are offering... wait, what's that, no one else is raising a finger to do anything? ;-)
Seriously now, who cares what the reason is. It's effing cool that H-D is stepping up and doing something. Where charity is concerned, a sad but true part of life is that accepting the ends (giving) necessitates ignoring the means (how the money was earned).
Think: Carnegie. All that money sure set up some nice legacies (wonder if the beaten Pinkertons got any of if?). And gosh, they didn't kill that many people, at least not directly.
Err... there was a point here... ...can't remember what it was... ...oh yeah! Ask not "why," it's a nice jesture regardless.
You might have been a little right if HD was giving actual cash rather than product--there'd be at least an outside chance that HD would actually be giving something up. The ONLY reason for this is to generate positive press. If the Motor Company was really interested in the welfare of veterans, they'd combine the "award" with some kind of serious donation to a foundation, for example. Instead, amid as much fanfare as they can generate, they dole out what, a grand of merchandise? So IF you're a veteran with a Harley (or just want to look like one), you can spend $1000 on more stuff for your hog (a chrome primary-side cover and a plush pig-toy). Otherwise, see ya.
IMHO it is a completely cynical effort to chrome the lily.
Furthermore, charity does *not* require ignoring the means used to generate the cash. If this was blood money or drug money, any self-respecting charity would turn it down.
Now, I'm not saying that the lucky dude who wins his hog-loot should give it away or turn up his snout. What I am saying is that if you can't recognize this as a feeble attempt to gain *extremely* cheap positive press by aligning HD with an unassailable segment of their market, then your head is too far up Willie G's butt. The MOron who wrote in to say that HD is covering itself in others' dearly-bought glory for the price of a few trinkets and a tax write-off was precisely correct.
Could be HD didn't think about this angle, but whatever. If you're willing to call a spade a spade, this is where you're left. These are the only reasons this stunt works: free for you, cheap for HD. The only guys who pay already spilled their blood half a world away.
If H-D is going to recognize veterans for "dedication and service to our country," it needs to consider that our servicemen and women give their lives for this country. Survivors include those paralyzed, third-degree burn victims, and people who lost limbs, eyes and so on. That is sad reality, and they are genuine heroes without question, but to offer them a gift certificate for a bunch of t-shirts for their sacrifices trivializes their commitment to the nation. There are countless veterans support groups, medical facilities, and similar organizations that desperately need more funding and volunteers, and if H-D simply spent their time, money and publicity value directly aiding them it would be a much more dignified recognition program.