Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Funday: With Pride And Thanks

With all of the news coming out this week, we've felt like every day, something else is going to drop out of the headlines and splatter all over these pages, like a grocery bag where the bottom fell out.

So it was with a sigh of relief when the headline story we're talking about today came scrolling across our screens last night. No, we're not talking about the NFL lockout being basically over with - but we're glad for that, too.

We're talking about members of our military finally being able to be proud of who they are.

As people who've grown up and lived many years in Nebraska, we tend to be very accepting of most individuals as they are, regardless of weight, height, skin color, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or just about anything else you can think of.

In a similar way to comments we made earlier this week, as long as a person is the best they can be, and they do their jobs to the best of their abilities, we have no problem with most folks.

Maybe our amiable, accepting Nebraska attitude comes from spending many years in Lincoln, a town with a large variety of educated people, immigrants, and gays. Maybe it comes from the fact that when winter comes, and Nebraska gets hit with mountains of snow and twenty below temps, as long as the person living next door knows how to shovel snow, drive out of a snowbank, and keeps the heat on while not burning the place down, we don't care if they're red, green, blue, purple or orange.

Yes, we'd even accept John Boehner in Nebraska, as long as he was willing to grab a shovel.

With that in mind, it shouldn't surprise anyone that we're very proud that new Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are going to certify the end to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law today.

While Congress voted to repeal DADT last year, it's abolishment was conditional on the policy change being authorized by the top military brass in the U.S. Armed Services. They needed to give legal assurances that dumping DADT wouldn't harm military readiness or unit cohesion.

That's what both Mr. Panetta and Adm. Mullen will be certifying today.

We've never understood the point of DADT. Although most of us haven't served in the military, the one veteran among us assures us - only a small handful of bigots even cared about a fellow soldier or sailor's sexual orientation when he/she was serving. As long as each person did their job the best they could, no one in the service ever really cared who someone else was dating.

We are proud of our servicemembers and their families. Always have been. Whether it was Offut Air Force Base or Fort Leonard Wood just a short drive away, or Pentagon personnel throughout the community, we've been used to having plenty of members of all the Armed Services around - and we've never cared who they chose to date or marry either.

Today, we're glad that our Armed Service members who happen to also be part of the LGBT community can be proud of what they are too.

They're Americans in uniform.

Our thanks go out to them, and to all of our Armed Services members around the world.

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