The Advocate posted Major Witt’s response to the DOJ’s decision to appeal while not seeking a stay, which means she can be reinstated:
“I am thrilled to be able to serve in the Air Force again,” Witt said in a Tuesday statement circulated by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, which litigated her case. “The men and women in the unit are like family members to me, and I’ve been waiting a long time to rejoin them. Thousands of men and women who are gay and lesbian honorably serve this country in our military. Many people forget that the U.S. military is the most diverse workforce in the world — we are extremely versed in adaptation.”
We are lucky to have people like Margaret Witt in our military. The men and women who serve with Witt are a lot wiser than many of the elected officials here in DC. And, DOJ should stop lying about its need to appeal this case.
Pam Spaulding covered SLDN’s 2009 dinner, when Major Witt received the Barry Winchell award for courage. This excerpt from Major Witt’s speech says a lot about her and her military colleagues. It’s powerful:
I’d like to tell you a little of what I miss about the military. I miss my friends — my military family — both active duty and reserves.
I have literally received calls from all over the world asking —“what can I do?” Two years after I literally disappeared I got a call from a dear friend, a SMSgt in my unit. We had deployed together many times –and to this day I consider him my big brother. He was planning his retirement ceremony and wanted me to be one of his invited guests. He knew I would be there for him even if it meant stepping back into my squadron. When the day came – I wasn’t even sure I would be allowed on base let alone through the doors of my unit. Once through the gate I cried all the way to the parking lot. I think it took me ten minutes to even open my car door. Once I did I was spotted immediately, hugged and taken inside. I was greeted with more hugs, tears and dozens of flowers. During my friend’s ceremony he called me up to the front of the room. It was his big day and in his usual selfless character he started to talk about me and my career. When he finished the entire squadron gave me a standing ovation. I was overwhelmed. He had given me the retirement ceremony that had been taken from me. That’s the kind of people I served with. That’s what I miss—and that is how I affected unit cohesion and morale.
After 18 years of dedicated, decorated service, my commanders discovered that I am a lesbian. The Air Force told me my career was over. But I stood up to the ban and challenged my discharge.
So glad she did.
Major Witt has already made history. And, I hope she does again when DOJ loses on appeal. That will be the third time Witt and her lawyers have beaten the government in court.
All she wants to do is serve her country.