Today is Veterans Day, one of those minor holidays we usually forget about until we try to go to the bank or post office.
But it’s the first Veterans Day since Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was fully repealed, making it something of a momentous occasion for the gay community.
So we’re taking a look at some of the men and women who served this nation honorably but were discharged for being homosexuals; whose courage under fire helped to pave the way for open service. (Like Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, whose handsome visage appears on the home page.)
There are thousands of such men and women, of course—from Prussian military genius Lieutenant General Frederick Von Steuben (who trained George Washington’s Colonial army) and WWII veteran John McNeill (who received a Purple Heart and spent six months as a German POW) to Second Lieutenant Sandy Tsao (who wrote to President Obama to lift the ban and received a personal response) and Staff Sergeant Eric Alva (the first Marine seriously injured in the Iraq War).
Maybe the gay community should treat Veterans Day like its own private holiday, when we celebrate a major victory over the forces of prejudice and hate.
We’ve already got the streamers and fireworks.