Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Bravery

Attending Sunday mass with my parents this past weekend, I was pleased that the service didn't end without a nod to Veteran's Day. The priest asked all of the men and women of service to stand and be recognized for their sacrifice (and if you know a veteran, you know how allergic they are to accolades). The majority of those standing were WWII and Korean War vets, my father represented the Vietnam era, and I was seated next to two guys just back from Iraq- the absence of women among them was unfortunate. As military combat implies a patriarchal sensibility, so Veteran's Day often reflects that. But the story of Sgt. Kimberly Munley, a civilian officer who took down the man responsible for 13 deaths at Ft. Hood this week, reinforces the vital role of women in national security and should foster some changes in current military policy. The ban on women in combat is an outdated dictum, on par with "don't ask, don't tell". Both are illogical in theory and even more so in practice. As I looked with respect and admiration at the veterans standing on Sunday, it occurred to me that, even in a conservative parish like ours, not one of them would be afforded any less respect for their duty if they revealed that they were gay. They still sacrificed in ways that the rest of us have not.

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