Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Fort Bragg Wedding Ceremony

Ever notice how unbelievably happy same sex couples are when they finally get married?  Ever notice how somber and serious many of the straight couples are when they get married?

Bill sent me this link about two soldiers getting married at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. See here. This one has special significance for me because just last summer I was threatened with physical violence by a distant cousin of mine when he asked me if I was gay (actually he said "There is a rumor that you practice the gay lifestyle?  Is that true?"  When I answered "If you're asking me if I'm gay, I am."  Then he said to me "If you step foot on my parent's property (I was visiting with Bill and my cousin Bob T. and his wife researching our family history) you have me to deal with!  You got that bud?"  

My cousin Jerry R. (the big guy in green) with his parents (his mother is my cousin) during a more friend visit two years ago before he heard the rumors I was "Quare"


Well, I'm not ashamed to admit that I was intimidated because I was in those western North Carolina mountains near the Tennesse border where my father grew up and where homophobia is alive and well and abysmal ignorance like my cousin's flourishes.  They have guns up there.

Bill with my cousin's husband - this shortly after he complained to Bill about President Obama putting "all those quares" in office.  We got a laugh out of his pronunciation at the time.  I didn't realize the seething hate underneath until last year when we tried to visit again.  Must be terrible to live in a pit of hate like this.  I wonder how people like this feel when they see the world closing in around them and they realize there are more people in life and not just straight, white people? And the ironic thing about this man is he is God fearing.  See why I'm not a fan of organized religion?  For someone so "God fearing" to harbor so much hate in their heart and to be so judgmental.  It is a shame.


I was in a section of the country where gay men like me are referred to as "Quares".  This is the same North Carolina that has outlawed marriage equality.  The same North Carolina that has the most restrictive voting in the country.  

I also have a tenuous link to Fort Bragg.  When I was in the Army, I attended Army Security Agency training at Ft. Devens, Massachusetts.  
Goofy me at Ft. Devens (give me a break, I was only 18 years old)
After schooling we were given a choice of our next assignment (which was to last the remainder of our tour of duty, 2 1/2 years for me) based on our standing in class.  I was seventh in my class.  My good friend (who I later found out to be gay) was eight.  I wanted to stay with him.  When it came down to choosing I said "We're going to Ft. Bragg together, right?"  


Me (left) with my buddies Bill A. and Dick E. at Ft. Devens, a break between the classes)


He wanted to be closer to his home in Norwood, Pennsylvania (a suburb of Philadelphia) and said he was going to choose Ft. Meade, Maryland, home of the National Security Agency.  There was only one allocation left for Ft. Meade.  I wanted to be with him because he was my good friend (no romantic interest, never was even after I found out he was gay) but I did have a great friendship with him.  So when it came time to choose I chose Ft. Meade instead and thus had probably the best 2 1/2 years of my life. 
 
Me (fourth from the right in the back) with my buddies/classmates at Ft. Devens April 1960


Even though the NSA and Ft. Meade was notorious for gay witch hunts I survived and made two good gay friends (both gone now).  But every time I see a reference to Ft. Bragg I think of what could have been and how much my life would have changed.  


Sal and Ron H., my gay (and best) friends at Ft. Meade standing before the poster of the Broadway type show they put on at the Service Club at Ft. Mead (I made the poster, they did the show, I missed that "Broadway Show" gene) 

But here I am rambling when I just want to show you this heartwarming video of a wedding in Ft. Bragg.  My, my how times have changed.


Me (second from left) with my Army buddies at Ft. Devens, spring of 1960

14 comments:

  1. Ron,
    The video brought a smile, actually a big grin that I still have as I am writing this comment. As always, love your ramblings about the good old days. To me they were the age of innocence.

    See you in less than a month,
    Jack

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    1. Jack,
      I loved the wedding video. So much happiness for all involved. Ever notice how happy everyone is at the same sex marriage ceremonies and how unhappy and hateful those are who oppose. To my dying day I'll never understand that hate by those who oppose same sex marriage. What are they afraid of? Yes, see you in less than a month. More good times!
      Ron

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  2. Thanks for sharing. I'm new to your blog and I enjoy learning more about your personal history. We live in the Hill Country of South Texas where prejudice still runs rampant. Some of my Hubby's family sounds very similar to yours. Hard to believe.

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    1. MAC,
      I'm ashamed that I have so many in my family who are so filled with hate and fear of me and other gay men and women. Something I will never understand. What are they afraid of? Would they feel more comfortable if we went back into the closet? That's never going to happen. In my personal circumstances, the shame is that I'll probably never visit those beautiful western North Carolina mountains of my paternal ancestors again in my lifetime. Too much hate in those mountains.
      Ron

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  3. I am so sorry, Ron, how your family is treating you and Bill, but it could be a blessing in disguise. Guess who is faring much better in life and having friends all over the world? Who needs haters and losers in their lives?

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    1. Nadege,
      I've posted about this before but I thought it was worth posting again just to expose the pockets of hot hate that still flourish in this country. I'm ashamed to admit that a lot of that hate and ignorance is in my own family. You're right, Bill and I are a blessing in disguise. The haters will never see that though and that's their loss.
      Ron

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  4. nice video; I like the butt-tap on the tuxedo-clad hubby at the end. such a cute couple!

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    1. Anne Marie,
      I thought that butt tap at the end was cute. I loved that video!
      Ron

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  5. Cute video. I can see all of us being able to marry in my lifetime. Family will take a while longer.

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    1. Travel,
      I too can see marriage equality throughout the United States in my lifetime. The more gay men and women who come out and refuse to let others tell them how to live their lives, the yoke of oppression will disappear.
      Ron

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  6. Ron

    Hatred doesn't solve anything. But I think hatred and mistrust is linked more to culture than institution.

    Pat

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    1. Pat,
      You're absolutely right. Especially in those isolated mountains of western North Carolina and other places in the South, that hatred is embedded in the church goers' minds every Sunday by their hate mongering, ignorant and judgmental pastors.
      Ron

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  7. Not all of us hate "quares" down here in NC. The metropolitan areas are quite progressive; it's just those rural areas that hold us back. And when it come to voting, those country folk make up a solid block, unfortunately.

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    1. David,
      I understand that David. In the more civilized areas of North Carolina like Charlotte, the "quare" hating isn't so prevalent. But you're right, those mountain, rural, isolated areas in western North Carolina the homophobia and other hate (no blacks) is boiling and kept hot by all those hateful pastors of the primitive Baptist churches. I often think they must hate watching television these days where they see more black and white couples and gays are not demonized. They want to keep their pockets "pure" in those mountain hollers. It's a shame, all that hate.
      Ron

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