During Memorial Day, I was taking photos of myself wearing my service cap trying to come up with something different to post. I wore the t-shirt below “Home of the Proud & Brave Since 1776. An American Tradition”

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I realized the photo still didn’t feel exactly right. I got out my Pride Bear SpiritHood and allowed myself to just be.

And I waited for some inspiration.

I made a few photo cards to honor LGBT service members who died for our nation despite the “No Tell” orders against serving. Brave & Proud to wear the uniform into the fight.

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Then, a flash of curiosity. What would my Pride Bear look like on top of my veterans hat? Will it fit? It made sense to me. Making sure the letters on my hat showed, I took this shot.

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The Proud & Brave.¬† That’s it! The photo made magic and I felt totally at home in that moment. Proud & Brave to have served; Proud & Brave wearing all my colors at one time.

I wear either/or hats all the time. My Spirithood tribe are awesome and they too feel complete in their hoods and we all get stares out in public. I told the tribe that I think the person’s brain is rebooting while staring at us.

I posted the photo and asked, Do you think I will be stared at in public? Do you know what happened? Love poured from the post! Thank you, encouragement, and “Likes” lit up the post like icing on a cake.

So, I changed my photos on Twitter and Facebook and now am moving with brave pride.

You might like to know that those crossed Harper’s Ferry pistols are the insignia of the Military Police and that green ribbon under them is the Army Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service that I was awarded twice. It is missing an oak leaf cluster. Proud & Brave.

Posted by Steffie Rae

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