If the following doesn't make you love people even more than I already do then you're not very human.
President Barack H. Obama
The White House
Dear Mr. President,
After the recent letter by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recommended the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” be delayed, this is my plea to you on the behalf of the soldiers serving in silence to end this law now:
I never wanted anything more in my life than to be a career officer. My entire childhood I was exposed to abuse, violence, and crime. I came out of it all with a simple, yet overwhelming desire to serve. When my first attempt at getting into the
I knew I was gay, but it was irrelevant to me then. I was determined to join an elite team of handlers working with dogs trained to detect explosives. As I studied hard to pass exams and complete training, I was convinced that the current law would protect me. I knew that based on merit and achievement I would excel in the military.
I never told anyone I was gay. But a year and a half later while serving in the
Shop talk in the unit revolved around sex, either the prostitute-filled parties of days past or the escapades my comrades looked forward to. They interpreted my silence and total lack of interest as an admission of homosexuality. My higher-ups seemed to think that gave them the right to bind me to chairs, ridicule me, hose me down and lock me in a feces-filled dog kennel.
On one day in the
I told no one about what I was living through. I feared that reporting the abuse would lead to an investigation into my sexuality. Frankly, as we continue to delay the repeal of this horrible law, I can’t help but wonder how many people find themselves in similar, despicable situations and remain silent. My anger today doesn’t come from the abuse, but rather from the inhumanity of a standing law that allowed for it.
Three and a half years later when the Navy started investigating claims of hazing, I had finally earned my place at the
At NAPS I realized that a career of service under DADT would be a forfeiture of my basic human rights. It would be a forfeiture of basic job security, peace of mind, and meaningful relationships, particularly with my fellow straight service members whom I was forced to deceive and betray.
After completing a six-week officer candidate boot camp, my commanders said they wanted to offer me a leadership role. But after what happened in the
"I am a homosexual. I deeply regret that my personal feelings are not compatible with Naval regulations or policy. I am proud of my service and had hoped I would be able to serve the Navy and the country for my entire career. However, the principles of honor, courage and commitment mean I must be honest with myself, courageous in my beliefs, and committed in my action. I understand that this statement will be used to end my Naval career."
They say some people are just born designed for military service. It‘s the way we are wired, and the only thing that makes us happy. For too many of us, it‘s the only family we ever had. I am sure now, more than ever, after all the loss and hardship under DADT, that all I want to do is serve as a career military officer.
Mr. President, any delay in repeal is a clear signal to our troops that their gay brothers and sisters in arms are not equal to them. I plead that you take the lead -- fight for repeal -- and allow qualified men and women to serve their country.
Joseph Christopher Rocha
Former Petty Officer
Makes me want to embrace them all.
I was thinking this weekend abou a woman I used to know who once told me she had lived in a small town in Canada and every afternoon at 2 the entire town would stop work and go to the bakery...because the bread was done.
I wish I knew which town that was.
And so it goes: