- Health, Wellness & Sports
- Equality Directory
Over the past decade, I have watched with bated breath as our community fought to repeal the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that would finally allow the members of our armed forces who happen to be gay or lesbian to be honest about who they are as they fight courageously for our freedom.
One of the most important people in that fight is an amazing man and former Marine named Eric Alva. He was the first purple heart recipient in the Iraq war. He was in charge of 11 Marines in a combat supply unit, when on March 21, 2003, he stepped on a land mine. He ultimately lost his right leg, and sustained significant damage to his right arm as well.
I remember seeing him speak in front of Congress and feeling a mixture of emotions. I felt sorry for him, but at the same time I was inspired by his courage and his admission that he felt “lucky” to be alive. Perspective is a powerful ally. It would be so easy for him to think otherwise and be angry at his misfortune, but he seemed so generous, and strong on TV that day. My inner voice wondered what my perspective would be if life had handed me the same challenge, and I wasn’t proud of my answer.
Read Billy's full commentary HERE