American Veterans For Equal Rights (AVER) has honored our greatest generation, LGBT WWII Veterans, with a memorial brick to be emplaced in the National WWII Museum in New Orleans this spring. The brick will likely be one among hundreds if not thousands purchased via donation to the museum's Victory Brick Program by veterans organizations and individuals to honor WWII veterans. Big deal, right? Well imagine, one single brick, in a sea of bricks, to remember the thousands of gay patriots who sacrificed serving our nation around the world in that war! That's some brick!
Just imagine visiting the museum, located along the Mississippi River south of Lake Pontchartrain, in the Gulf breeze on a spring day, standing in silence seeing all those bricks immortalizing individuals and groups of heroes. Each name and each unit were ordinary American patriots from so long ago, real people, uncles, grandfathers, and brothers, all with hopes and dreams. Imagine all the names, and all the air crews of bombers shot down in far away places, sailors of ships sunk in the South Pacific in horrific battles, tank and infantry troops, Marines lost on Iwo Jima, and so many others. How many of those uncounted nameless souls were gay? How many courageous WWII women world transport pilots where lesbian? How many bisexuals, how many transgender patriots, all hiding who they were within their souls? And for all of them, for thousands of heroes and heroines, so that we may not forget, just one small brick with the abbreviation "LGBT." Imagine seeing that on a balmy spring day and thinking of all those people.
Imagine what seeing that would mean to you, a Vietnam veteran, or Iraq or Afghanistan vet, or someone who survived serving in the Korean war? Is there a brick for any of us somewhere in a sea of bricks?
As you stand there thinking of our own heroes, you hear a small voice behind you, as a child asks, "Mommy, what's that one over there?"
"Which one, sweetie?" she asks.
"That one over there, it says LGBT."
"Oh that's just some unit or other, maybe it means Landing Group Boat Transport or something, that liberated the Philippines or were part of the Normandy D-Day invasion..."
Yup, that's us! We were there, everywhere, in every unit, then and now. Just be proud; honor our patriots.
Founded in 1990, AVER is America's LGBT military service organization, advocating and serving our LGBT veterans and service members. AVER is an all-volunteer organization with every penny of funding going towards our mission. You can donate to AVER to honor our veterans by going to http://aver.us/sponsor/gift2008.php