Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Arizona Memorial to LGBT Veterans a Desecration?

Way back in November 2000 the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER) along with the Arizona Rainbow Veterans were instrumental in erecting the first ever memorial to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered veterans in a National Cemetery.

Which I thought was a terrific way to honor the sacrifice of those soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who had given their lives for a country that wasn't ready to accept them even though they were willing to sacrifice themselves for it.

But what do I know? Leave it to the Religious Right to gin itself up in a sweaty lather over it. Surprisingly, though, it took them long enough to get around to it (unless I've missed something in the meantime -- only Michele "I'm-an-irritating-homophobic-moron-AND-I-play-one-on-tv" Malkin seems to have had much to say about it) but now someone named "Bill" is circulating by viral email the following letter, which I got to see when it was sent to Veterans and Military Families for Progress, a national progressive (i.e. liberal) veterans group that I belong to:

From: Bill <mailto:kabar7@davisp.com>
To: government@vmfp.org
Sent: Wednesday, April 29, 2009 3:14 PM
Subject: VA CEMETERY

Arizona National Veterans cemetery desecrated

National cemeteries were established as national shrines in tribute to the gallant dead who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America. In 2001 a group of Dishonorably discharged sodomites the Arizona Rainbow Veterans with the help of corrupt Government officials in direct violation of The National Cemetery Regulations Title 36 and NPS 61 erected a Memorial to all gay, lesbian, Pedophile, bisexual and trans-gender veterans. This repugnant horror now sits on sacred ground along Purple heart drive in founders plaza only yards from the original flagpole from the main deck of the battleship Arizona were 1,177 men died in action on Dec 7th 1941.

We living Veterans that remain must speak for the thousands of silenced lips forever stilled amongst the jungles, deserts, beaches and the deep waters. We must stand together once more for future generations of our Sons and Daughters, for the Widows and Orphans of our dead we must fight, for the solemn dignity of their final resting place.

In the name of almighty God Let no heart be faint, let every arm be Steele. For to do otherwise a million ghosts in olive drab in brown khaki and blue and camouflage will rise from their white crosses and bronze markers thundering those eternally sacred words-
DUTY HONOR COUNTRY

All gave some ,some gave all, For your tomorrow they gave their today.
Please call and speak for them. Please make this telephone call!!!!

Demand the immediate removal of the Gay, Lesbian, Pedophile, Bisexual,and Trans gender monument. The cemetery should be used to honor the dead not glorify or even mention someones sexual practices, What's next a monument for those that practice bestiality, fecalphilia, necrophilia?

Why not it's a sexual lifestyle preference ? This is ridiculous!! and a shameful way to treat our dead Vets!!!!!!!!

House committee on veteran affairs
335 Cannon House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-9756
The Administration Office of the Arizona National Cemetery
Mr. Wayne Ellis
480-513-3600
Mr. Pat Hallinan
202 -461-6071
Veterans Administration Secretary secva@va.gov
General Eric Shinseki 202-461-4800
I have no idea who this "Bill" is, but he's obviously received an extra heaping helping of homophobic hatred ("Pedophiles"? "Sodomites"? Jeez, come on, Bill...) when it comes to honoring the sacrifice of some veterans. Since he's sending this out for people to contact the government officials listed, there's nothing to stop us from contacting those same individuals and make our voices heard on the other side.

· Here's the email of General Shinseki: secva@va.gov.
· And here's the list of members of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.
I don't have emails for the two guys at the national cemetery -- if anyone has them, let me know and I'll post them here. In the meantime, a phone call will do.

10 Comments:

mrln said...

What sets any group apart is discrimination. Would that women and minorities of color were never discriminated against, there would be no need to redeem our treatment of them by making special note of their service. But there has been discrimination, and lack of honor paid, and so we erect monuments and statues as a way of remediating our failure to provide appropriate commendation for their service. Since LGBT individuals have been singled out BY US (our society), then it is right to make reparation by giving special recognition for their service to our country, which was rendered freely DESPITE their marginalization, discrimination, and in some cases, abuse by the society they chose to serve. For that reason alone, they deserve special recognition!

Farnsworth68 said...

Thanks, mrln. I can always count on you for incisive commentary.
Hope to see you in NYC "soon". (That's in quotes since I don't really know what "soon" is any more...)
--The F Man

mrln said...

Any time, sooner or later, Farns. We can wax nostalgic about the AAR Cruise, bemoan the loss of Randi (for the time being) and celebrate Rachel, whom we knew WHEN, before she became this big star. Until then, keep on blogging, I need my daily dose of sanity.

Worried American said...

I agree with mrin. Reparation and recognition is long past due. Thank you for this post. I was unaware of this until I read it here. I have posted a blog about this shameful act by "Bill". How foul of him!

Anonymous said...

Bill's comments may be a little strong, but they speak for many including myself. Those you say you want to honor
entered the military under false pretenses, they LIED. Their services were neither asked for or needed. Never the less, once in, if they were wounded or KIA, is not the honor bestowed on them as simply a man or woman serving their country not sufficent? Why do whatever deviant sex acts they practice need to be mentioned in any way. Why is the act of sex between two people of the same sex deemed so Noble now anyway? Keep it to yourselves homos!

Farnsworth68 said...

Okay, anonymous. You've made your point and I won't take the time or the trouble to argue it with you.
Longtime readers know tht I have only two rules on this blog:
1. I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed man, and
2. I refuse to argue with those who hide behind anonymity.
Goodbye and thanks for playing.

James said...

Denny Meyer, a spokesman for the American Veterans for Equal Rights, a gay veterans’ group, said he understood many of Provost’s shipmates in Assault Craft Unit 5 knew he was gay, but his serving with them caused no problems. Navy Times was not able to immediately reach other members of ACU 5.

Farnsworth68 said...

Thanks, James. This is a story that is being heard over and over again. When I was in the Army 40 years ago, it was more or less common knowledge who was "gay" and who wasn't. None of us are the worse for wear for having served with "homosexuals", even back in the day when it was much less common for someone to "come out".
Even now, in my dotage (age 64) it is difficult for me to even be able to try to understand anyone's difficulty at accepting the so-called "gay lifestyle"...
Maybe I am, still, naïve...
When my cousin finally came out, it didn't come as a surprise to anyone in my generation, but his mother was so upset that she suffered a stroke and was dead within in year. My parents sat me down and had one of "those" conversations:
Them: [cue ominous music] We need to talk. Your cousin Donny?
Me: Yes...?
Them: He's a homo.
Me: ???!!! Is that all??? I thought you were going to tell me he had cancer or something!!!!
Them: You knew?
Me: Who didn't???!!!
You get the drift....

AFFEXION said...

God Bless you Farnsworth68.... Those brave men and women deserve a memorial for standing up and dying for a country that to this day doesn't recognize their right to marry the person they love! That is honor and bravery beyond anything I could imagine.

Farnsworth68 said...

Thanks, AF, and welcome to OPOVET. I cover LGBT rights and issues regularly, along with a lot of other things. Drop by from time to time and check it out.
Oh, and have a great holiday!
--The F Man