If you wonder why "Pride" month is a thing, and why it's important to celebrate, take a moment and read this obituary of Col. Edward Thomas Ryan of New York State.

Col. Edward Thomas Ryan had a very long life filled with many different jobs and services to our nation. Some of those include that he was a retired Fireman in the City of Rensselaer, he was one of the owners and founders of radio station WHRL-FM in Albany, and he was a Chef at the East Greenbush, American Legion Post #1231.

"Mr. Ryan had a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business from North American University and a Bachelor of Science degree from SCU. He was a member of the International Association of Fire Fighters. He was a life member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Past N.Y.S. Chairman of the Vietnam Veterans/Agent Orange Committee for the American Legion, a Past commander of Melvin Roads POST 1231, American Legion in East Greenbush, N.Y., Life member and Past Grand Knight of Rensselaer Knights of Columbus, and member of the BPOE and the Veterans of Foreign Wars POST# 7378, both in East Greenbush, N.Y. He was a retired Colonel with the 10th Brigade, located on South Lake Ave, N.Y.C."

Colonel Ryan had many awards throughout his lifetime: The National Defense Service Medal, Defense of Liberty Medal "For participation to the State following the attack on America, 11 September 2001". He also received a citation by the direction of the Governor of the State of New York, and "The Conspicuous Service Medal" the citation reads in part, "Col Ryan's Loyalty, Diligence and Devotion to Duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Military Service and a long and distinguished Military career which reflect great credit upon himself and the State of New York." From the division of Military and Naval affairs, he received the "Commanders Citation" for "Service Above and Beyond the Call...."

What Is His Connection To Pride?

In his obituary, he wanted to share the following message:

"I must tell you one more thing. I was Gay all my life: thru grade school, thru High School, thru College, thru Life. I was in a loving and caring relationship with Paul Cavagnaro of North Greenbush. He was the love of my life. We had 25 great years together. Paul died in 1994 from a medical Procedure gone wrong. I'll be buried next to Paul. I'm sorry for not having the courage to come out as Gay. I was afraid of being ostracized: by Family, Friends, and Co-Workers. Seeing how people like me were treated, I just could not do it. Now that my secret is known, I'll forever Rest in Peace."

Why Was This Important?

In a world where if you go to the comments section on any news article dealing with pride, companies changing logos to rainbows, or flags being flown......this man didn't feel safe to express himself while alive. Seriously, take a moment to go to the comments section on ANY news article locally dealing with Pride Month and it's filled with negative. A man who fought for our freedom, was the first into dangerous situations as a firefighter, didn't feel safe in a world to admit his truth. Imagine the amount of people he may inspire to come forward and share their truth?

This author is happy that Col. Edward Thomas Ryan can now rest in peace after sharing his secret.

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Gallery Credit: Matty Jeff

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