San Diego Gay & Lesbian News has obtained a copy of a video produced by DoD Pride for LGBT Pride Month that poignantly pays tribute to service members from the LGBT community who have died, some in combat in service of their country, and some who tragically were killed by fellow service members.
Directed by Lee Castillo, the video uses a rousing speech by President Barack Obama in support of LGBT rights as background audio for the "In Memorium" tribute to the fallen. SDGLN understands that the video is intended to be shown during LGBT Pride Month observations by the Pentagon and possibly will be shown today at the White House reception in honor of LGBT Pride Month. You can watch the White House livestream as Obama speaks to attendees at 5:05 pm EDT/2:05 pm PDT.
Castillo said today that his video was "a labor of love," because he was a close personal friend of Army Maj. Alan Greg Rogers, who in 2008 became the first openly gay soldier killed in Iraq.
"It breaks my heart even today to just think about it," Castillo said, noting that his friend was a big advocate for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and didn't live long enough to see the discriminatory policy rescinded. He had a black memorial bracelet documenting the time and date of Maj. Rogers' death, and he gave it to Obama during a reception, and was pleased that the President accepted it and asked about his friend.
The video opens with this message:
"Today we honored those Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Civilians and Service Members who are no longer with us.
"We honor their service to our country and we honored those who they have left behind.
"There are so many who have come before us who contributed greatly so that we can be standing here today serving openly."
The tribute salutes:
-- Franklin Edward "Frank" Kameny, who served as an Army sergeant during WWII.
-- Harvey Milk, who served in the Navy during the Korean War.
-- Leonard P. Matlovich, Air Force Tech. Sgt., Vietnam veteran, Purple Heart and Bronze Star awardee, and the first gay service member to purposely out himself to the military to fight the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly.
-- Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Allen R. Schlindler Jr., who was killed in 1992 by a shipmate in Japan.
-- Army Pfc. Barry Winchell, killed in 199 by a fellow soldier at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
-- Sheila Hein died on Sept. 11, 2011 when a plane crashed into the Pentagon. She is survived by her partner, Peggy Neff.
-- Army Maj. Alan Greg Rogers, died in 2008. He was the first openly gay soldier killed in Iraq.
-- Navy Petty Officer August Provost, killed in 2009 by shipmate at Camp Pendleton, California.
-- Army Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, killed in action in 2011 while serving his country in Afghanistan.
-- Army Staff Sgt. Donna Johnson, killed in action in 2012 while serving in Afghanistan. She is survived by her wife, Tracy Dice Johnson.
-- Air Force Capt. Reid Nishizuka, killed in action in 2013 in Afghanistan. He is survived by his partner, Xavier Winters.
-- Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Charlie Morgan, who died in 2013 from breast cancer. She is survived by her wife, Karen Morgan, and daughter Casey.