NPR this evening, I heard a story of how Billy Sipple, a gay veteran who prevented Gerald Ford's attempted assassin from taking a shot at the president, and they mentioned how Daniel Hernandez is also openly gay. The NPR story contrasted how Sipple was shunned, being unexpectedly outed 30 years before don't ask, don't tell was repealed, and how he died at the age of 49, alone and estranged from his family. In comparison, Daniel Hernandez has been lauded as a hero, even though he is reluctant to take on that mantle, and has selflessly and humbly redirected the "hero" label to the first responders and law enforcement and paid staffers who Daniel said are the "real heroes". As I watched last Wednesday's speech on public television, I thought to myself "what a well spoken young man!" and was struck by how unassuming he came across.
I hope Mr Hernandez has a long, happy, productive career in public service, and he does not go down the same route as Billy Sipple after his very public, very heroic act. The world needs more - not less - people like Daniel Hernandez.
1 year ago