Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11

Today is a sad day in the annals of this country. Eight years ago we lost so many Americans which led to losing so many more Americans in a war started on lies, pomposity and subterfuge. I better be careful or Sarah Palin will start calling me out on her Facebook page. I'm white with fear.

On November 4, 2008, 16,000 people went into legal limbo because we had gotten married after the California Supreme Court said we could stay married but no one else could join our country club.

These two moments in history are related because of Alice Hoagland. We all met Alice the day she came to the rally in downtown San Jose the Saturday after the election. She was wearing a picture button of her son, Mark Bingham, a gay man who was on the United flight 93 which crashed in Pennsylvania. Alice took the mic that day and talked about her loss, our loss of a man named Mark who helped stop that flight from crashing into the White House or the Capitol.

Alice is an amazing woman, exactly the kind of mom we may all have wanted at some time in our lives. She has thrown herself full bore into the causes Mark believed in-LGBT equal rights, air safety and rugby. Whenever we have meetings about events and planning, Alice is with us offering heartfelt, smart opinions.

She knows our lgbt history better than most people I know. She has brought her mother's heart to our battle and will not be silenced about her loss and our loss of Mark. Alice has been walking this path with us and offering her strength to get us through the losses and set backs.

The government sent her to Guantanamo to witness the trial of Khalid Sheik Mohamed. She described her trip as seeing the face of evil in front of her. Alice was quoted on the front page of the New York Times from her time in Guantanamo. This is no shrinking violet!

Today is the anniversary of her loss. Our country's loss, the LGBT community's loss and a reminder that we can all be heroes when the opportunity presents itself. Unfortunately, Mark's heroism cost him his life.

His mother carries on for him. Alice is a great woman, a true partner in the struggle for equality. I wish I had never met her and that her son was among us, living a fulfilled life. That wasn't Mark Bingham's story though. He gave us the gift of his mother instead.

I wish I had met Mark while he was among us. I am certainly grateful for his gift of Alice. Please take a moment today and remember Mark and all the others who lives ended tragically today. Please remember their families, the people who love them and the pain they have today as a reminder of that dark day.

Please remember the bright lights that remain among us carrying their sorrow in so many hidden ways. Their pain is our pain, we remain a country wounded but still surviving.

Thank you Mark for your sacrifice. Thank you Alice for all you do and who you are to all of us.

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