HRC Blog

Marine Vet Eric Alva Reflects on Veterans Lobby Day

The following guest post reflecting on Veterans Lobby Day is from retired US Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Eric Alva: Veterans Lobby Day on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was nothing less than truly amazing.  I was touched to see so many active duty service members and veterans come to Washington to lobby Congress on such a personal and important issue.  Veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom spoke eloquently for repeal.  We even had active duty members take leave from Iraq and Afghanistan to travel across the world for this important day.  One of the most inspiring things was how many straight veterans joined us -- DADT repeal is just as important to them since they've seen the damage that discharges can do to a unit.  I have been actively involved with HRC working on repealing DADT for a number of years now, but I had never seen anything quite like this. Overall, we had more than 250 meetings on the Hill, including more than a quarter of them with members of the House or Senators.  We met with supporters, and we met with members and staffers who aren't with us - yet.  Senator Lieberman joined us for a picture and reaffirmed his commitment to ending this discriminatory law.  He thinks we can do it this year.  I think we can too, if we keep up the good work. Reporters from CNN, Fox News, LGBT and mainstream newspapers, political publications, talk radio news stations, and a Spanish-speaking TV station came out and gave us the opportunity to tell our stories.  We need to keep telling these stories.  Let's not stop speaking up until "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is a thing of the past.

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