Mr. Limpus, it is regrettable you have been unable to find closure within your heart even after the AIDS related death of your elderly childhood acquaintance. His existence as a gay man seems to have troubled you all your many years, but now that he has departed, only you can bring understanding in your own heart. It is often hard for us of the oldest generation to change our way of thinking, but we can reach out, even to those who have died, and find enlightenment.
You apologized for stepping on toes, but I detect from the wincing tone of your letter that the toes are your own.
An uncle in my native Mississippi harbored such feelings about gays, but also about blacks serving in the military. He felt they degraded the military and weakened unit cohesion. Fundamentally he felt they were inferior. He took these feelings with him to the grave last year. The honorable black Marines and soldiers, like gays, however, continue to serve with dignity. My uncle was not a bad man. His old prejudices had simply become locked within himself.
It is not “blackness,” sexual orientation, nor gender which disrupts military unit cohesion. It is our own bigotry and resentments. The rich diversity of the American people is perhaps our strongest asset in war, as in peace. E pluribus Unum incorporates that we are many and diverse, all created equal; that as we unite in brotherhood, we become one great nation. May God bless this unity.
Joe Howard Crews