A Tribute to a Gay Soldier

The Courage Campaign honors a soldier killed in combat this year

Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt was killed while on active duty in Afghanistan. He was 31 years old and gay. But when Wilfahrt joined the U.S. Army, he went back into the closet to serve his country. While on foot patrol just outside of Kandahar on February 27, he was killed, most likely, while shielding a sergeant who survived the attack. He died just before President Obama announced the much-awaited repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

The soldier’s grieving father told CNN that Wilfahrt agonized over the decision to join the military because he knew he’d have to hide his sexuality. “He was a gay soldier,” his father says. “To persist with this bias, prejudice – whatever the basis may be – is a foolish thing.”

In honor of Wilfahrt, one of his friends posted to Facebook: “Andrew told me one of the reasons he wanted to enlist was that he felt guilty as a civilian when so many men with wives and children were separated from their families. He joined the fight so that guys like me didn’t have to. He is my hero, my friend, and I miss him.”

In honor of Wilfahrt and all of the LGBT people serving in the military, the Courage Campaign launched an ongoing project called “Testimony: Take a Stand” that shares the emotional trials of equality happening in all segments of the community across America.

Watch the tribute to Wilfahrt here featuring his parents Jeff and Lori Wilfahrt:

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