Finally, after too many years of hiding and living in secret, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is over. A letter distributed to troops today made the repeal official to soldiers on American soil and abroad. (click here to read the letter as reported in The Washington Post).
The letter, signed by Raymond T. Odiemo, General of the United States Army; Raymond F. Chandler III, Sergeant Major of the Army; and Jeff M. McHugh, Secretary of the Army, states that “The law is repealed” and “from this day forward, gay and lesbian Soldiers may serve in our Army with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
It’s about time! Dignity and respect have long been denied to our gay brothers and sisters in the military. They have proudly served their country, fulfilling integral, and sometimes dangerous, roles that have kept our country safe from those who would do us harm. And at the end of the day, when their bodies were tired, bruised, and/or battered, they were denied a basic comfort most everyone else, including me, takes for granted.
They couldn’t really go home. Not to the home that we think about, where our spouse waits to make the horrors of the day better with a kind word or a soothing touch. Their homes were a charade they created to keep their military careers safe, so they could return to the front lines and bleed for us again while we slept safely next to our significant other.
That will no longer be the case.
Now, they can truly go home after an awful day and receive the love and support we all take for granted because their homes will no longer be shrouded in secrecy or fear.
That will, no doubt, be one of the greatest gifts they ever received.