My brother, Jim, rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the U.S Navy in the mid-1980’s, serving as a medical officer to the Marines. He was stationed at Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendleton after graduating from medical school. He loved the military and often said that if they had been more kindly to gay men, he would have been a career military man. As it was, he had to hide his sexual orientation to do what he wanted to do: serve his country. He did not sign up for another stint because he was tired of not having the option to be honest about who he was. I am grateful that the times have changed. I’m only sorry he is not here to see it.
I couldn’t find the picture of Jim in his dress uniform. He loved to wear it for all formal occasions and one of these days I will come upon the box where it is stored. As for today – Veteran’s Day – I wanted to at least honor his service with some picture of him. He was a licensed pilot and owned his own plane. Here he is poised on the wing before taking off on a trip from Texas to New Orleans with my mother as a passenger. The date is around 1993.
Veteran’s Day is a time which honors all people who have been willing to put themselves in harm’s way to keep our nation safe. I am proud of Jim’s service. He had a deep and abiding love for his country.