Andrew was so well-liked his comrades named a combat outpost for the soldier with the infectious smile. COP Wilfahrt sits 6 kilometers from Kandahar. To his buddies, it is not named for a gay soldier, but for one who fought with valor.
"Mom, everyone knows [I'm gay]. Nobody cares," he told his mother in their final conversation, a phone call from Afghanistan on Thanksgiving.
Andrew never denied his sexuality. But like so many, he struggled with what it means to be gay in America. Yet it was only one part of him. He was so much more. In the note on his laptop, he never used the words gay or homosexual to define himself. His younger sister, Martha, says it's the least interesting thing about him.
A smart, wise younger sister. She gets it.
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Jeff's greatest regret is not hugging his son when he first told him he was gay. "This is how it is for an old fool of a man. This moment is the burden I carry."
Republican Rep. John Kriesel, who lost his legs while serving in Iraq, sent Andrew's photo around the floor during debate in the Minnesota House. A few years ago, he said, he would have defined marriage as solely between heterosexuals. But his military service changed that.
"This amendment doesn't represent what I went to fight for," he told lawmakers."I cannot look at this family and look at this picture and say, 'You know what, Corporal, you were good enough to fight for your country and give your life, but you were not good enough to marry the person you love.' I can't do that."
Andrew didn't have a significant other. If he had, the partner wouldn't have been allowed to escort his body home from Dover Air Force Base, nor would he have received Andrew's $100,000 death benefit.
"We will never forget him and are honored to have served with such an outstanding person," platoon leader 1st Lt. Brandon LaMar said in a letter informing the family of the naming of the outpost.