On the Bicentennial Fourth, July 4, 1976, I took a ride in a WW2 landing craft, out to Grande Island, at the mouth of Subic Bay, in the Philippines, with my girlfriend of one month, Evangeline, to see a big fireworks display put on by the U.S. Navy. There was also an air show that day at Cubi Point Naval Air Station, which was my base for that whole Summer. It was a fun day. That girlfriend turned out to be the only person who has ever fully understood me; though most might only see how different we are, in truth we are two very similar people, with more in common than appearances might indicate. And I feel fortunate that this perfect friend of mine, my companion in life for 36 years now, happened to be a woman. That one detail made it possible for me to get a visa for her to immigrate, because we could, and did, legally marry. But if my perfect companion had been, say, one of Vangie’s cute benny boy (gay) friends that I met that same Summer, being together would have been a whole other kettle of bagoong. The freedom to love who you love is part of being free, isn’t it?