Video: A Heartbreaking Memorial for a Gay Soldier Killed in Afghanistan
Gay soldier Andrew Wilfahrt's death reminds us why "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was incredibly stupid.
Corporal Andrew Wilfahrt was a young man from Minnesota who joined the Army in 2009. Though he'd been openly gay his whole adult life, the then 29-year-old closeted himself in order to enlist, but he eventually came out to some of his fellow soldiers. Their response? According to Wilfahrt's mother, "nobody cared." "Even the really conservative, religious types," Wilfahrt told her, "they didn't care either."
Wilfahrt was killed in action in Afghanistan in February, just two months after President Obama signed into law a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." According to his father, who says in this video that Wilfahrt's sexuality was "the least interesting thing about him," Wilfahrt threw himself in front of a bomb in order to protect one of his colleagues, who had two children at home.
"Soldiers don't die for our political agendas," says Wilfahrt's dad, mourning his son in the above video. "Soldiers die for each other." The message is simple: The vast majority of people arguing about gays in the military aren't in the military themselves. Because soldiers on the battlefield don't care about each other's sexuality. They care about staying alive.