Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Purple Heart recipient speaks out against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

Quote from the first American wounded in the Iraq war, Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva:

To be honest, each time I was commended on my courage, I couldn’t help but remember how scared I was that I would be found out as gay and kicked out of the military. I remember the fear I felt when people around me in the military started debating the new “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy even before it became law. Still, my proudest moments during my 13 years in the military came when I would confide in one of my friends about my sexual orientation and they would still treat me with the same respect as before.

Those are the words of Sgt. Alva, a Purple Heart recipient who was wounded on March 21, 2003 when he was traveling in Iraq in a convoy to Basra with his battalion. Sgt. Alva stepped on a landmine, breaking his right arm and damaging his leg so badly that it needed to be amputated.

I don’t know, but I think there’s something drastically wrong with a country that can ask young men and women to put their lives on the line to defend our freedom, but tell them that while they are risking their lives for our freedom, they do not have the freedom to serve openly as a gay man or lesbian.

Shame the hell on us.

And to all those people out there who’ve never ever worn the uniform or put their own lives on the line for this country – SHUT THE HELL UP. Yes, unfortunately you are entitled to your opinion, but only because brave young men and women, many of them gays and lesbians, have volunteered to fight for your right to be a loud-mouth ignorant bigot.


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