My first reaction is wow... and with tears of appreciation and Joy for what this brave and kind man has done for this country and that he continues to give of himself, to fight for the rights of this country.
I wish that I could shake his hand and look to his eyes just to say thank you, and to tell him just how much it means to have people like him in this world.
That to a son of the south, who rarely ever hears the words of the elders spoken with such heart, openness, and love for a country and its people without hearing a caveat.
That being, "I think we should all have equal rights, but this gay marriage thing is just wrong", or "I can't bring myself to support it." That they want to be there for people but can't separate the church and state in their mind to see how such a division is so hurtful and wrong, that they so often can't bring them selves to support such and idea. And it makes me think then, how can you support this country? That may not be fair of me but its how it feels. These words are spoken by so many not just in the south and not just of the aged but through every age range and class. And each time it hits me with shock that there is even a need for discussion on what seems to me to be so basic, such a non-issue. Something that is above question, the equality of EVERY individual in this free and wonderful country.
To hear such conviction in his words from a voice that has seen far too much agony in his time, it is the sort of thing that makes my heart sing, and gives me hope for the future.
When I have this discussion with people who are against equal rights for all I often find myself struggling to put into words correctly the emotion and pain of being 2nd class to so many, and this courageous man simply took my breath away with the simple statement, "what were we fighting for over there?"
Thank you to Phillip, and to all those brave men/women who have served and continue to serve so that I might be free. And thank you to all those who continue to stand up with my peers and I to fight for true freedom and equality for all. Yours is a generation of conviction and strength that this world so desperately needs.