Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy
Just a few short years ago it was impossible for the romantic partners in same-sex relationships to embrace openly for fear of persecution and allegations of violating the U.S. military's 'don't ask, don't tell' law. In the heartbreaking collection of stories, Our Time: Breaking the Silence of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," edited by Josh Seefried, we read of brutal moments during the traditional reunions after deployments when, while others were freely hugging, kissing, and crying, men and women had to essentially ignore the men and women they loved once they returned, hands by their sides awkwardly, until they were in the safety of and privacy of their own homes.
Now we're seeing active duty military hugging, kissing, and leaping for joy when they return. And today we see the cheerful, spontaneous image of a Navy sailor returning from a six-month deployment on his submarine, USS New Mexico, dropping to one knee and proposing to his boyfriend during the homecoming celebration in Connecticut, while approximately 200 well-wishers looked on and snapped photos. Pictured is U.S. Navy, Petty Officer 2nd Class Jerrel Revel (left) proposing to his boyfriend Dylan Kirchner (who seemed to want to get into the nautical theme himself with a black-and-white outfit)
"It kind of tickled my mind every now and then that (he would propose) but I never expected this," Kirchner told The Day, the newspaper of New London, Conn. "I didn't really care everbody was around. It felt just like the two of us."
The couple have not set a wedding date.