Pantsuit Nation—Meet Addie and Adrian

05/29/2017 06:58 am ET Updated May 30, 2017

Edited By Libby Chamberlain

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Every Memorial Day, we honor those who sacrificed their lives in while serving in the United States’ armed forces. Those among the fallen served beside such soldiers as Adrian De Luna and Addie.

Addie Zinone, California

Addie Zinone, California
Pantsuit Nation
Addie Zinone, California

Actual conversation with my seven-year-old son on our way home from school today:

Hudson: “Mommy, Mrs. Evans said a real soldier, a man who went to war, is coming to talk to our class tomorrow.”

Me (looking at him through the rearview mirror): “That man is me, buddy.”

It was a genuinely great moment during an otherwise difficult day.

Hillary Clinton: you will always inspire me to be more, to dream bigger, to fight harder.

My children are learning that as well. My voice will only get louder.

Addie Zinone, California
Pantsuit Nation
Addie Zinone, California

Adrian De Luna, Texas

Fifteen years ago, I was promoted to sergeant while on deployment. After leaving the Marine Corps, I sometimes wondered where most of my military friends went. Years later Facebook was invented, and it was nice catching up. It was great chatting with some old friends and life was good. I never had the courage to post anything personal on my Facebook account. I had only come out to my immediate family and my mother urged me to not be so vocal about my sexuality. 2015 came around and by this time I had been with my husband for eight years. We were expecting a daughter, and our marriage would be recognized in the US. I made several posts. I announced the birth of our daughter. I announced I was married to a man, and I didn’t care.

Today I have five friends left out of the forty-some military buddies who had added me years ago. Some unfriended me after finding out I was gay. Others left when they found out I was legally married, but the majority left when I posted that I stood with her.

I never thought I would feel this way again. Growing up “different” in a very conservative town was enough for me to want to leave. And now that feeling resurfaced.

But we Marines are tough. We endured one of the toughest boot camps the world had to offer. We survived thirteen weeks of hell. We survived deployments and we are resilient by nature. We will survive that orange turd.

I swore an oath in the summer of 1999 that I would protect my country against all enemies, foreign or domestic, and Trump will never be my president.

I stand with her.

I’m a feminist. I’m a father. I’m the son to a single Mexican mother (who is now a US citizen) who came to the US in hopes of giving me a better future. I’m me. And I love this group.

It is people like you that have made it possible for people like my family to be able to succeed in this country. Thank you all for being you. Thank you for being openminded and for welcoming everyone with open arms.

Adrian De Luna, Texas
Pantsuit Nation
Adrian De Luna, Texas

Check back on Thought Matters tomorrow for Rachel's story!

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Libby Chamberlain is the founder of Pantsuit Nation. She lives in coastal Maine with her husband and two young children.

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