I’ve always been a little shy about celebrating Veteran’s Day as a veteran myself. I never understood how to adequately accept or respond to the many thank yous by friends, family, and even strangers. Despite the very, commercialization of the holiday with big sales, free food, and parades, every Veteran’s Day still represented a time to reflect on those that gave the ultimate sacrifice to our nation. Their sacrifice represents the epitome of service.
I believe all veterans genuinely cherish their service, but over the years I think it is easily taken for granted as the norm. This year that unexpectedly changed for me.
When I began THE ASK & TELL PROJECT, I never foresaw the impact it would have on me. The past few weeks I’ve had the privilege to meet and interview several transgenders service members and veterans. The bravery to share their stories and fight for the right to serve puts a whole new meaning into this year’s Veteran’s Day.
I feel such a sense of honor to meet these remarkable service members and veterans, dedicated to our nation.
Currently, less than one-percent of Americans serve in our all-volunteer force. In honor of the fight for open transgender service, ASK & TELL decided this Veteran’s Day was a great day to release our series with Ashley an inspiring transgender veteran, who is actively leading the way in advocacy for medical services at the VA hospital.
I hope by sharing the stories of transgender veterans and service members that THE ASK & TELL PROJECT can inspire all Americans to fight for the continuation of open transgender service in our Armed Services.
This Veteran’s Day I’m thankful for the privilege to serve next to our transgender brothers and sisters in uniform and the rejuvenation in my sense of service.