Patriots Demand DADT Repeal in Boston’s Faneuil Hall
May 24, 2010
Faneuil Hall in Boston has been called the “Cradle of Liberty,” and for more than 200 years the hall has hosted revolutionaries and patriots. Last Wednesday night, Faneuil Hall was home to more than 100 people discussing what it means for gay and lesbian military service members to defend our country. Marine veteran Eric Alva joined local veterans, who had met with Senator Scott Brown’s office the day before, to share their experiences in the military under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” With less than one week before the Senate is scheduled to consider repealing the discriminatory law that bans open service, veterans urged attendees to call and write Senator Brown. One veteran, a former Air Force pilot who had flown more than eighty combat and combat support missions over Iraq and Afghanistan, told of a conversation she had with a partner while she was packing for a deployment:
She asked me who would contact her if something happened to me. She knew that no one in my squadron knew she existed. I assured her that my parents would make sure she was informed. The sad thing is, being informed was only the tip of the iceberg. I knew this because my dad had been killed in the line of duty nearly 30 years earlier. No one would come to her door.My parents would have to call her from nearly 2,000 miles away. She wouldn’t have the support of my squadron because they didn’t even know she was a part of my life. At my funeral service she certainly wouldn’t be presented a US flag. As a matter of fact, people may wonder who she was. She certainly wouldn’t benefit from any sort of Veteran’s Aid or Social Security. She would be left all alone. One of the Air Force’s core values is ‘integrity first.’ I thought about how little integrity I would truly have to have in order to knowingly volunteer to risk my life while neglecting the most fundamental aspect of my life: my family. It was this thought that made my decision to leave the military.
The sad truth is that highly trained gay and lesbian service members are leaving the military because of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” At a time when so much is asked of men and women in uniform, we cannot afford to lose qualified and experienced personnel. Contact your legislators and tell them that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” hurts our military readiness.
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