For Muhlaysia

When I heard of the murder just a few days ago of Muhlaysia Booker in Dallas, I was overcome with anger and sadness.  Just 23 years old, identifying as a trans girl, she had already been nearly beaten to death only a month before.  This is not the first murder of a trans girl in Dallas in recent times either.  And around the USA the statistics bear out that black trans girls (women) are more often than not the victims of killers, and a large part of that reason is these girls are not accepted openly by “normal” strata of society, and are often driven to engage in risky behaviors just to survive.

I have LGBTQ godchildren – and they are all just a little older than this young lady.  I cannot imagine something bad happening to any of them, but sadly that is not today’s reality, because attacks can literally happen anywhere.  Like any parent who loves their children and accepts them for what they are, I would give my life for any of mine.  But of course they are adults and I cannot be with them hardly at all now.  All I can do is pray for them.

Here in Texas, it took the murder and decapitation of Mr. James Byrd, Jr.,  in 1998 to get a hate crimes law passed, but it did not include protection for gender identity, and although there have been multiple efforts to get this done, it has been stymied in the Capitol by lawmakers representing the “usual” voters, who know not love.

I really hold our society at large accountable for letting this happen.  However, as long as we have preachers preaching hate and intolerance instead of what Jesus taught, and churchgoers voting on such misinformed interpretations of what should be self-evident, we as a society will continue to come up short on the arc of moral justice.

However, we each can do a little, besides voting in the right reps…we can stand up within our families, our social orgs and clubs, and even in the supermarket lines, in support of those who wish to express their true identities.  If we can’t individually stand up for human rights in our very midst, then what kind of persons are we?

RIP Muhlaysia, I know you are loved around the world.

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A Man of Simple Means, A Hero to His Family

“I can’t tell you what goes on, but the Italians are going to have a lot of bridges to build when the war is over.” (My father writing to his parents, dated December 9, 1944).

Daddy was a B-25 pilot, one of many brave warriors of the 321st Group, commanded by General Robert Knapp, a friend of General Jimmy Doolittle, who used the B-25 to launch a strike on Japan from the deck of an aircraft carrier.

On April 27, 1945, my father was awarded a 6th Oak Leaf Cluster to his Air Medal.  That was his well-deserved birthday present.  On April 27th this year, had he lived, he would be 99.  Daddy wrote to his parents on April 25th that he had finished 70 bombing missions over Italy, as the Allies drove the Germans back north.  I wonder if he had any premonition that his son, me, would be born exactly one year later.

On May 8th, VE Day, General Knapp pinned on Daddy’s Distinguished Flying Cross, and soon he would be home.

The photo is actually one of the B-25’s that my father flew.  Back then aircraft in the field would have various “decorations,” usually of shapely ladies.  My have times changed.

Tom Brokaw has referred to the WWII generation as America’s Greatest Generation.  All I know for sure is our father was to me, “the greatest man.”