When we caught word that the LGBTQ Veterans Memorial at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois was defaced, we were outraged.
In case you haven’t heard, a vandal (or vandals) snuck into the cemetery during Pride month and used black roofing tar to black out parts of the text on the monument reading: “Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender People have served” and “Equal Rights.”
The defaced shrine was discovered on June 16.
The Chicago chapter of American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER) dedicated it May 2015 and was one of the first memorials of its kind in a national cemetery.
The organization said in a statement Thursday, “The memorial at ALNC represents the service and sacrifice of all Americans, and as such is an affront to everyone, and disrespectful to our fallen veterans.”
We would like to amplify AVER’s words and add the following as commentary to the person or persons who did this.
You can never take away the service or sacrifice of LGBTQ veterans or any person who has served in the United States military.
No matter how much you may try, you can never erase their names and you cannot erase their service from history.
Some of the men and women that memorial honored paid the ultimate sacrifice so that you could remain free. And they did it while having to stay silent about who they were.
A real American would never disrespect the memory of a military service member, including those who happen to be LGBTQ.
Like it or not, our community will continue to remember the current and past service of our military members and all those who have given so much to this country.
LGBT persons have served this country since the first Continental Army … and in every major American operation since.
You can’t erase their names. You can erase their lives. You can’t erase their contributions. No not. Not ever.
To the person(s) who defaced the memorial you need to know this.
You are a coward.
Former US Army Veteran