This weekend, we celebrate the heroic acts and sacrifices made by men and women throughout the history of the United States. Shortly after reading an excellent blog post by @JasonBosch on the need to redefine what it means to be a man, a friend of mine posted the article from CNN.com via Facebook. I hope you will enjoy the juxtaposition of the challenges of hyper-masculinity and self-serving behaviors described by Jason Bosch, with the simple courage, humility, and service of Cpl. Andrew Charles Wilfahrt that is told via CNN.com, especially the paragraph beginning, "The retired Marine says ...", which brought tears to my eyes. Together, they describe the challenges that face us, and the rewards that await that work in the end.
Be A Man | In Search of Phi Alpha
Our current socially-constructed concept goes something like this: if you're a "real man" then you must be an independent, gun-toting, beer-chugging, crotch-scratching, womanizing, gay-hating, unemotional sports fanatic. If you don't fit this bill, you're a sissy, a wimp, a weirdo. You don't have to look far to see the bad behaviors this idea of manliness leads to: bullying, hazing, cheating, sexual assault and violence, intolerance, and just plain rudeness and insensitivity toward others.
Soldier leaves legacy much larger than 'he was gay' | CNN.com
'I am here to serve'
Andrew met with a retired gay Marine in Minneapolis bars and coffee shops in the months before signing up. He wanted to know the pros and cons of being gay in the military.
He'd been volunteering at food shelters, animal shelters, an AIDS hospice, voter-registration drives and other non-profit initiatives. At 29, he was living with his parents and looking for more out of life.
The retired Marine says Andrew told him he wanted to serve so a soldier with a wife and children wouldn't have to go fight.
"He wasn't making a statement" about being gay. "He was doing it for everybody else," says Dan, who asked that his last name not be used. "He will forever be my hero because he joined for the right reasons. He was a silent part of the gay community, but it's just unspeakable how big of an impact he's had now."