To the Editor:
I had the privilege to attend the Pride Month Ceremony at Fort Hood on Wednesday.
I haven’t been as proud of America since November 2008, when we elected our first biracial president, Barack Obama.
“Diversity,” “inclusion” and “family” were the words I will remember from the poignant and dignified program.
I was moved emotionally as I observed soldiers from all ranks, ages, gender and race participate in and attend the program. The ballroom reflected the diversity of America.
The guest speaker, Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith, deputy chief of staff, U.S. Army, was the epitome of what a public speaker should be.
She was humble, succinct, confident and engaging as she shared her story. A story that still puts many of our soldiers in harm’s way if they self-identify as LGBT by their own.
I will never forget Brig. Gen. Smith or the unknown number of our soldiers who must bear the judgment and disdain of people they protect at home and abroad.
They do it because they love this country and they show it by sacrificing who they are behind that uniform.
Less than 2 percent, about 3 million folks, serve in the military out of America’s 305,816,827 population.
Thanks to President Obama, our soldiers don’t have to hide their families or orientation.
Presidential Proclamation 2014 by President Obama reads, “As progress spreads from state to state, as justice is delivered in the courtroom, and as more of our fellow Americans are treated with dignity and respect-our Nation becomes not only more accepting, but more equal as well.”
It is Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel whose remarks reflect what I was part of Wednesday, “The United States military has long benefited from the service of gay men and lesbians. Now they serve openly with full honor, integrity and respect. I am proud of our entire DOD LGBT community, military and civilian, for what they do to make our armed forces stronger and our nation safer.”
Thank you, LGBT soldiers, for doing what 20 percent of Congress hasn’t done and 98 percent of the populace — served this country with honor and sacrifice. I salute you and thank you.
Patricia Muldrow Roberts