Monday, June 04, 2007
GLBT's, LET'S ROLL!
In the words of General John Stark of New Hampshire, "Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils."
Edited and taken from Wikipedia: On June 16, the rebels, fearing a preemptive British attack decided to take high ground surrounding Bunker Hill, and Breed's Hill.
When the British awoke on June 17 to find hastily constructed fortifications on Breed's Hill, British Gen. Thomas Gage knew that he would have to drive the rebels out before fortifications were complete. He ordered the HMS Lively to begin firing on the rebel positions. Thus began the Battle of Bunker Hill. American Col. William Prescott held the hill throughout the intense initial bombardment with only a few hundred untrained American militia. Prescott knew that he was sorely outgunned and outnumbered. He sent a desperate request for reinforcements.
Stark and Reed with the New Hampshire minutemen arrived at the scene soon after Prescott's request. Several companies from other regiments were afraid to march into range of the artillery fire. Stark ordered the men to stand aside and calmly marched his men to Prescott's positions without taking any casualties.
The Minutemen crouched and waited until the advancing British were almost on top of them, and then stood up and fired as one. They unleashed a fierce and unexpected volley directly into the faces of the fusiliers, killing 90 in the blink of an eye and breaking their advance. The fusiliers retreated in panic. A charge of British infantry was next, climbing over their dead comrades to test Stark's line—this charge too was decimated by a withering fusillade by the Minutemen. A third charge was repulsed in a similar fashion, again with heavy losses to the British. The British officers wisely withdrew their men from that landing point and decided to land elsewhere, with the support of artillery.
Later in the battle, as the rebels were forced from the hill, Stark directed the New Hampshire regiment's fire to provide cover for Colonel Prescott's retreating troops. The day's New Hampshire dead were later buried in the Salem Street Burying Ground, Medford, Massachusetts.
While the British did eventually take the hill that day, their losses were so great (especially among the officers) that they could not hold the positions. This allowed General George Washington, who arrived in Boston two weeks after the battle, to place his cannon on Dorchester Heights. This placement threatened the British fleet in Boston Harbor and forced General Gage to withdraw all his forces from the Boston garrison and sail for Halifax, Nova Scotia.
On May 31, 2007 New Hampshire Governor John Lynch signed civil unions into law, making it the first state to promote full marriage rights to the GLBT community without having been prompted by a civil suit. This was a very special day for me in particular because New Hampshire was where I grew up, and it is where much of my suffering was derived from being a gay teen lost in a society that had no tolerance for such a thing. Seeing the over-conservative New Hampshire roll over and become democratically controlled after some 230 years of Republican control makes me wonder what else is possible. Miracles can happen it seems, and I am here to witness a change I never thought possible during my lifetime, all on my 40th birthday. I have been in communication with the governor's office. Unofficially, I was told that the civil unions bill was deliberately signed within 14 days of the Massachusetts legislative session convening as a way to "point them in the right direction."
Patrick Henry once said, "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
What do we learn of all this?
Long ago, people had the courage to stand up and risk their own death in order to fight an impossible battle for the very freedom we take for granted each day. Now it is our generation's turn to leave our mark on society. We are those who are brave enough to look past the unfounded fears of the few, to see our brother Americans looking back, with hope, that now they may begin to enjoy their lives in dignity, and equality.
America is not great in spite of its diversity, it is great because of it! You remember that the next time someone speaks ill of someone else because they are different. If you can't stand up to them and loudly proclaim that equality is for all, at least don't be one who laughs with the haters. Benjamin Franklin once said, "Those who lay down with dogs shall rise up with fleas." You are the company you keep.
"G"-Day is the GLBT's own Battle of Bunker Hill, and is happening June 14th, at the State House. On this day we may see the Anti-Equality, Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment voted down by the legislators. We are too close to victory not to try with all our might to end this war. Take it upon yourself to call your legislators, and tell them to kill this vessel of bigotry by any means necessary. Tell all your friends to help spread the message. BE THERE in person on June 14th to show support for Liberty itself! Do not wait to be asked to help, ask what else you can do. No effort is too small, nor too great. The hour is at hand that may very well shape what direction the world goes in, but most definitely it will be our legacy.