From Desegregation To Ending DADT

Those of us who lived through the end of segregation in the armed forces understand the infamous “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy which prevents gay and lesbian soldiers from serving will end, not with a bang, but with a whimper. I served in the US army during the Korean War and wound up working on the desegregation plan for the US 7th Army in Germany. There were some white soldiers who opposed the concept of having black soldiers in their units, but after we told them their choice was being in an integrated unit in Germany or being in an integrated unit in the mountains of Korea the overwhelming majority decided having a black bunk mate was not that awful. I recall the day our first Negro soldier entered the headquarters and within days, boys from Georgia and Alabama and Virginia were playing basketball with him on the “Southern team” which played against the “Yankee team.” Oh, there were cries of ending military discipline, there were worries our fighting men would not perform well if whites had to fight alongside black skinned men, but they fought together in the hills of Korea and they shared water and blood transfusions.

The issue of ending DADT is not whether it will occur, but when. Every survey offers proof the majority of Americans accept ending this stupid law. We Americans have changed regarding ideas about gays and lesbians and it is time the John McCain types in Congress accept reality. After all, who in 1951 would have imagined a Colin Powell would one day lead our US Army?

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