An American Soldier

This is just one of countless stories of soldiers who are currently risking their lives and limbs for our sake:

Staff Sgt. Eric Alva had no specialized skills, but he was a decorated staff sergeant who had served in Somalia and Japan. As troops began to push into Iraq, on March 21, 2003, Alva was leading 11 Marines among 75 or so sailors and Marines in a 50- to 55-vehicle convoy on its way from the desert in Kuwait to Basra, Iraq.

It was a logistical convoy moving through the desert at night, lights out, night-vision goggles on. The sand was so kicked up it was nearly impossible for Alva to even keep track of the vehicle in front of him. At one of three stops along the way, Alva, who hadn't eaten for a full day, was heating up an MRE when he went to get something out of his Humvee.

"I took maybe a step or two," Alva said, "and that is when the explosion went off." It was a land mine. "I stepped on a land mine with my right foot," Alva said. "The explosion went off and threw me about 10 feet. I was in severe pain."

His hearing was temporarily lost, so he couldn't hear his own screaming. His hand was covered in blood; the tip of the index finger on his right hand was blown off, and the nerves had been damaged forever. Marines ran to him.

"They lifted my left foot and cut the bootlaces from the bottom, and they lifted my heel, and they took the boot off from the heel," Alva said. "And they never touched the right leg. So I remember even asking the chaplain, 'What is wrong with my legs? What is wrong with my legs?' And the chaplain - because we had chaplains with us - and he said, 'There is nothing wrong. You are fine. You are fine.'" But he wasn't. Evacuated to Kuwait by helicopter, Alva woke up hours later in the post-op recovery room. His leg was gone.

I don't think that such a man should be kicked out of the military for being openly gay, do you? Today, Alva will be in Congress asking for the ban on honest homosexual soldiers to be lifted. He's one of them.

Lift the ban.