Tucson teen anxious for opportunity provided by "Don't ask don't tell" repealPosted: Updated:
Thousands of people across the country are celebrating after President Obama signed the don't ask don't tell repeal into law.
Don't ask don't tell has kept many people from serving in the military.
Vyola Hawkis faced a choice no one should have to face.
"It was either I hide who I really was forever while I was in the military or I just don't go and I can be who I wanna be," said Hawkis.
She's only 19-years-old, but she's known one thing for a lifetime.
"That was my main thing to do in life, I wanted to go fight for my country," said Hawkis.
But her country wouldn't let her live that dream, wouldn't let her join the army, unless she lied to herself and to others about who she really was. And deep down Vyola knew it was wrong.
"When a bullet comes it doesn't say 'oh your gay I'm not gonna kill you,' it doesn't say things like that. It doesn't matter," said Hawkis. "When you're out there, you're fighting for your country"
She chose to stay true to herself, putting a military career on hold, dedicating time to Wingspan instead.
But a stroke of a pen miles away in Washington changed all that.
Don't ask don't tell is gone, and if you ask her, she'll proudly tell...
"Yes I will fight for my country as a lesbian. I feel like there's nothing holding me back to do that now," said Hawkis.
The dust still has to settle. Pentagon officials and the president need to work out how best to implement the new law. But Wednesday's historic news should bring smiles to the faces of those who want to step up and fight.
"Every single American that wants to serve in the United States military should be able to do so with integrity. And after today they'll be able to do this," said Representative Gabrielle Giffords.
"We're mattering now, we didn't matter back then in the military."
Viola's even started looking into how to enlist. Now she can do it without fear.
"The United States has my back," said Vyola.
Hawkis says she's not exactly sure when she'll join the army, but says she plans to do so in the near future.