A birthday gift from Afghanistan


Today, May 7, would have been our son’s 32nd birthday. Unfortunately he died in February in Kandahar. He used to like to reverse gift; that is he liked to give out gifts on his birthday rather than receive them.

Today my wife returned from DC where she had attended a “tea party” at the White House; now you got to love the irony in that label. The party was for the relatives of fallen and serving military personnel. It was an estrogen rich environment and no place for Midwest man like me. What is watercress?

As it happens a package was delivered this morning to our door. I left it for her to open, it was from Afghanistan.

The package contained wrist bracelets from the 3rd Platoon, 552nd MP Company with our son’s name on it. A nice touch, they all wear them. There were unopened letters never received by him. At least the letters didn’t come back like the care package labeled “undeliverable deceased”. The food shelf welcomed the contribution.

It also contained a warm and kind letter from the commanding officer which I will now quote.

“My entire platoon, and soon the whole company, will wear these bracelets with great pride in knowing that they had the honor to serve next to such an amazing person, and Soldier, as CPL Andrew Wilfahrt. … We are currently constructing a new living site for the incoming unit [552nd returns mid July] to move into and get out of living directly next to our ANP counterparts. We have decided, as a platoon, to call it COP Wilfahrt. COP stands for Combat Out Post. … I cannot put into words how sorry I am for your loss. I hope you all have gotten the chance to view the footage of the memorial service that took place here in Afghanistan. Seeing all the faces of Soldiers crying should show you just how much CPL Andrew Wilfahrt meant to us all. …” 1LT Brandon LaMar.

Now our son is just one of thousands we have lost. There is nothing noteworthy here but for the fact he was part of a minority community lacking full access to civil, that would be legal, not religious, rights. He was just one of the thousands of Minnesotans who fall into the GLBT community.

We got a few calls from the press in the last week. I guess they wanted to know what we thought about the death of Bin Laden, you know having a dead soldier son and all.

Didn’t matter much to me I guess, I was at another funeral.

The funeral was Friday last. There were all kinds of people there to speak on the death of a civil right. The civil right is called marriage, despite it being a legal thing; some think it has other worldly sentience. One side said it was all godly and stuff, they won the vote. I guess like the Mormons who state Eden was in Missouri and the Scientologists who have the space ships coming back, this other worldly stuff is real important. These ballot initiatives will come later. They’re just using marriage as the first of item of business since they all have that other worldly thing in common.

They said that marriage was all reserved for special situations, and that those special situations had to be made “ironclad” by killing the civil right for everyone and save it for select purposes only. Best place was in the state constitution. They don’t want any of those learned activist judges figuring this civil right out, after all, who needs law when you have a constitution you can amend by ignoring the other two branches of government. You just know those two branches don’t know what is right and fair according to god, who by the way is not a resident of the state of Minnesota and will not be voting on the ballot.

The services were held right there in the State Capitol. They called it the Judiciary Committee of the MN Senate, but really that is just a euphemism for morgue. The death sentence was determined by vote. To kill the civil right prevailed 8 to 4 as I recall. Done deal, have to put the laser focus back on the budget now.

I tried talking face to face with Minnesota Senators Warren Limmer and Amy Koch. They are intransigent. They hide behind a sham argument of “let the people vote.” We did vote last fall, and over 50% of the votes went to candidates who said raise taxes on the wealthy. Yet another inconvenient fact disregarded by the “no new taxes” crowd. They ignore that fact and invent poll numbers for some other kind of vote, one that debases the constitution.

So here we have a soldier who has a COP named after him. Yet somehow these leaders, and I use the term loosely, are moving to deny him and the minority of which he was a member from access to legal rights via the constitution. They’ll take his taxes, take his blood and take his rights.

Are these “leaders” really acting American, or do they better fit the definition of fascists?

I think the latter. Look the term up, make it your own. They now want to use the constitution, the one soldiers take an oath for, to exclude a minority. When in the world did that become the intent of the constitution?

This undocumented, unpublished report about a majority wanting to vote on the issue is a sham, let them show us valid statistical proof from this Mormon pollster used to defeat Prop 8 in California. How about some actual facts, but then fascists don’t use facts do they? Better yet, where the heck is the budget bill, the one about all the money they are so obsessed with and rhetorical about?

Me, I’m putting my faith in COPs Restrepo and Wilfahrt. That seems to be where the Americans are, the soldiers who serve to protect the constitution. I have no faith in these would be leaders, these fascists, to protect the constitution. I say get your religious tradition off our constitution. Keep it for your pews.

Happy Birthday Andrew, and thanks for the wonderful gift.

Jeff Wilfahrt, father of CPL Andrew Wilfahrt, 552nd MP Company, KIA Kandahar, Afghanistan, 2-27-2011.