Our son pondered what to do with his life. One day he came home and announced he had joined the military. He was flush with excitement, fully aware of the risk he was undertaking, but, at the same time, so determined to serve. He excelled in Basic Training. He trained for his job and enjoyed his work as an enlisted man. He deployed abroad. He grew up in front of our eyes.
The officers above him recognized his drive and his ability, and helped him to get into a military program that sent him back to finish college and then commissioned him as an officer. He is well on his way to becoming a military pilot. Not long from now, he’ll earn his wings.
This baby, this boy, this man makes his Mom so proud. But as I think about his life forced in the closet from this “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” it makes waiting for repeal another day that much harder.
Mom’s have lots of dreams when they have babies. All of you moms know what I am talking about. What if your child had to live a lie; had to remain alone through their best and brightest years? My dream for my son is that the United States of America would wake up and realize that times have changed, that people who happen to be gay or lesbian are really just like the rest of us, with the same aspirations, the same needs, and the same goals.
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” throws more than just service people into the closet; it throws moms, dads, siblings, grandparents, godparents, friends and loved ones in there as well.
As a mom, my heart breaks for all the gay and lesbian “kids” in the military, and for all the special people in their lives who live with us in the closet.
I dream of actually being able to write to the President, my senators and representatives in the Congress, and actually signing my name, something I can’t do now due to the risk of outing my son.
I dream of the day when my son won’t have to live in fear, even as he works to keep the rest of us from living in fear.
And yes, as a mom, I dream of my son getting married to the man of his dreams. I dream they will have all the rights that my husband and I do. I dream that my son won’t have to wait through his entire military career to find love. We all yearn for love.
Today, even in the closet, I dare to dream.
A mother in the closet
PREVIOUS LETTERS FROM THE FRONTLINE…
April 27 – Captain Joan Darrah
April 28 – LCpl Danny Hernandez
April 29 – An Active-Duty Military Chaplain
April 30 – Captain Rebecca H. Elliott
May 4 – Former Ssgt Anthony Loverde
May 5 – Former First Lieutenant Laura Slattery
May 6 – Former Staff Sergeant Anthony Moll
May 7 – Clifton Truman Daniel
May 10 – Former Sgt. Tracey L. Cooper-Harris
May 11 – Former Petty Officer 2nd Class, U. S. Navy Jason Knight
May 12 – Chief Hospital Corpsman Brian Humbles
May 13 – Former SSgt David Hall
May 14 – A Soldier Returning to Baghdad
May 17 – Former Sgt. Shonda Garrison