Post-traumatic stress, depression, physical wounds and sexual trauma have inflicted permanent scars on a growing population of our generation’s war veterans. The pain from these injuries of war only escalate as the combat deescalates. … Many of us get treatment and begin our long road to recovery the moment we step back onto American soil. But for some of us, the healing cannot begin until we enlist in another war at home. Since joining the ranks of gay veterans, I have publicly called this war a battle for equality, integrity, and many other powerful platitudes that resonate well throughout the airspace of a media war-zone. But at the heart of my struggle to end unjust discrimination in the military, these bold moral principles become mere words; the motivation to keep fighting in this war resembles the motivation we realized in Iraq. We did not fight for apple pie, the Constitution, or purple mountains’ majesty. We fought for each other. Caught in this battlefield, it is easy to claim victimhood and suffocate in the sadness of national betrayal. Gay Americans, like all scapegoated and stigmatized minorities in America’s history, know this feeling all too well. But just as all the patriots who had to come home to fight for equality, we cannot heal our injuries by permanent sorrow and self-pity. The only treatment that can heal the wounds of betrayal and hatred is a recommitment to fight for each other, to stand up for each other, to love one another.
—Lt. Dan Choi, in a Veteran’s Day call to arms, of sorts [via]