"What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach?"
In 2009, a WWII veteran named Phillip Spooner spoke to a committee of Maine lawmakers in support of equal marriage. In 2010, Melissa Dunphy set Spooner's words to music, winning the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers Composition Competition. This is that piece.
"Good morning, committee. My name is Phillip Spooner and I live at 5 Graham Street in Biddeford. I am 86 years old and a lifetime Republican and an active VFW chaplain ... I was born on a potato farm north of Caribou and Perham, where I was raised to believe that all men are created equal, and I've never forgotten that. I served in the U.S. Army, 1942-1945 ... I worked with every outfit over there, including Patton's Third Army. I saw action in all five major battles in Europe... I was in the liberation of Paris. (I have seen much, so much blood and guts, so much suffering, much sacrifice.) I am here today because of a conversation I had last June when I was voting. A woman ... asked me, "Do you believe in equality for gay and lesbian people?" I was pretty surprised to be asked a question like that. It made no sense to me. Finally I asked her, "What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach?" For freedom and equality. These are the values that make America a great nation, one worth dying for. My wife and I did not raise four sons with the idea that our gay son would be left out. We raised them all to be hard-working, proud, and loyal Americans and they all did good."
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