Denny Meyer:There's a lot of attention being paid, these days, to our young heroes' sacrifices and subsequent suffering for having served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in OEF and OIF. They have come home, those who survived, with grave wounds both physical and mental. Their troubles have their own abbreviations that everyone knows, TBI -traumatic brain injury, MST -military sexual trauma, PTSD -post traumatic stress disorder, and the list goes on and on. We all know the new catch phrases for the horrors they experienced, such as IED -improvised explosive devices -which used to be called 'land mines.' And we know that among those brave young heroes and heroines are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender volunteers suffering the same horrors for their service.
Its important stuff; these young heroes and heroines deserve all the love and caring that we can give. They need a lot more than, "thank you for serving" platitudes. Some actually need everything, a place to live, a job, money for food, transportation to the VA for their medical care, and most of all: respect. Would it kill you to give a big sloppy hug to a gay veteran in a wheel chair and whisper "thank you for serving" in his ear with a kiss? Can you deal with it? Imagine what he went through, please. Take a selfie with him, show everyone how brave you are; inspire others, start a movement.
At least they are being talked about now, our young heroes. But, when was the last time you ever even thought about an 89 year old gay senior citizen who served in World War II? When was the last time you saw one, and smiled in admiration of all that they accomplished during nearly a century of life when they could not be who they were? When was there a time that you wanted to sit down with a member of our own gay Greatest Generation and hear his or her story, before its too late?
Gay and Lesbian young folks, like most other young Americans in 1941, were moved to volunteer to serve our nation following the attack on Pearl Harbor. And thousands and thousands of young gay patriots like me volunteered during the war in Vietnam. They did the same thing after the 911 terrorist attack in 2001. What has become of all these gay heroes?