During the summer of 1999, I enlisted in the United States Air Force (USAF). I had four goals in mind. These goals were to finish my undergraduate degree, become an officer, dedicate at least 20 years to the USAF, and travel.
Unfortunately, my goals were cut short and my nine-year career ended after I was outed to my commander by a civilian. I was discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT).
Overturning DADT means so much to me. This law creates stress and significantly lowers the morale of military members every day that it remains in effect. Under DADT, service members are forced to hide who they are or risk losing the opportunity to serve their country.
I am grateful that we have the opportunity to celebrate our country's freedom this Independence Day. Every day young men and women are joining the armed forces and others are re-enlisting to fight so that our country can remain free. EVERY qualified American should have the freedom to defend our country as a service member, regardless of sexual orientation.
07-03-09 By (SSgt) Shelly Waite, former flight attendant, US Air Force |