Because the Don't Tell, Don't Ask Policy is about to be repealed, I was moved to poetry tonight:
Who Gets the Flag?
- for the tens of thousands of gay men and women who have shared in protecting our freedoms, but did so by sacrificing theirs.
Who gets the flag when my soldier boy falls
In the desert where he broke my heart?
They came to the door, but not mine
To say he was gone and fallen.
Phone call in the night told me that he died
But I knew before the signal rang,
Before the gentle nod from his mother
And the solace from his dad.
Because we were joined at the heart
Even when oceans apart.
But when I come to his bier
I am just a pal - a friend
Because even in death he would lose if known
That I am his hand and heart.
So as I sing hymns and listen to prayers,
I turn to his sister and whispered in wonder -
Who gets my soldier boy's flag now -
Now that all mourn aloud -
Now that I stand at the back of the church
And weep my silent prayer?
Who will fold it and give it to me
And thank me for my sacrifice
So I might rest my head upon his sacrifice
And dream the hero's dream?
But I know no one will see me,
A ghost more ghostly than my love.
There is no greater violence
Than a life that's mourned in silence.
Edward C. Patterson
I thought I'd never live to see the day