So the LGBT Pride day event on Fort Hood, once highly publicized, has been canceled this year.
This would have been the third year holding the event — already considered on par with Women’s and Black History days — since Congress opened up the armed forces to allow members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered community to openly serve, but thanks to the slow erosion of that precious flow of funds, there just wasn’t the money to do it this year.
Makes you wonder what will be canceled next. As sequestration and mandated cuts in troop numbers continue to slice at the military budget in often painful ways, some of the things we currently take for granted may soon fall to the wayside.
I remember early on in my career that if I wanted to use a rowboat, some fishing gear and a tent other than the shelter half I was issued, I could always go to Morale, Welfare and Recreation to check those things out. I signed for the gear and went out fishing with my buddies.
If I didn’t return it on time, I was quickly standing tall in front of my first sergeant having a very bad day — best incentive ever to return the items I borrowed.
Now, if soldiers want camping, fishing or just plain ol’ barbecue gear, they have to rent it for substantial fees.
So if the much-touted LGBT Pride day is now being canceled, will Women’s History day be next? Black History day? Or maybe it will be some holiday, such as, say, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. After all, the military doesn’t need to host events in honor of these individuals or groups, right? The government has much better use for those funds — after all, each member of Congress needs to fund their staffs, parties and first-class plane rides everywhere.
Maybe you’re not worried about these things, possibly even thinking to yourself, “Who cares? How does that loss affect me?”
History tends to prove that once you don’t care about one person or group losing out, you tend to be next on the chopping block. So, regardless of whether you’re LGBT, you should probably care because whatever day you celebrate may be next.
Before you know it, three- and four- day passes for federal holidays will be gone as well because, well, your civilian counterparts don’t get those days off, so why should you?
When we’re deployed, holidays or significant celebration days are pretty much ignored because we’re busy and we wouldn’t get the day off anyway, but it’s nice to look forward to when we’re back in garrison.
So while you’re not allowed to promote a political party or agenda while on active duty, there’s nothing to stop you from shooting an email to your congressman and asking him or her why you don’t rate to celebrate like the rest of the nation.
David A. Bryant is an Army retiree and the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. You can reach him at email@example.com or 254-501-7554.