The play SHOUT! was inspired by Inner Voices, a story written by Army veteran Theresa Duke for the Museum of the American Military Family’s anthology, SHOUT! Sharing Our Truth: An Anthology of Writing by LGBT Veterans and Family Members of the U.S. Military Services. Lora Beldon, the 2017-2019 museum Artist-in-Residence and museum Director Circe Olson Woessner co-edited the anthology.

Inner Voices had exceptionally compelling dialogue and Beldon and Woessner agreed the story would translate well on stage. Playwright Melissa Rayford seamlessly wove together multiple stories contributed by service members, military spouses, brats and allies into a strong, thought-provoking and poignant piece. 

Beldon says, “Shared stories help build and define our identity…help communities learn from each other. People who haven’t experienced what LGBTQ veterans or their families have, can better understand and learn about the subculture through the play.”

In 2018, SHOUT! and the museum’s companion exhibit Still Shouting – Memories from Inside the Closet  received the American Association for State and Local History’s prestigious Albert B. Corey Award, gaining national recognition for the museum. 

SHOUT! debuted in Richmond, VA, on September 22, 2019 and received positive reviews. 

Rayford, who also directed the Richmond performance said, “It is our hope…that we create a production to be used by any theatre group wishing to produce this subject matter.”

While the 2020-2021 Covid pandemic sidelined further stage performances, it did not stop Beldon and Woessner from collaborating with Dr Deborah Cohler (San Francisco State University) and Dr. Erica Chu (Truman College) to create educational materials based on LGBTQ and military history and stories in the script to help enhance the audience experience and to provide further education by facilitating post-play discussion.

In December 2020, Los Angeles based director, Herb Hall led nine actors in a virtual reading of SHOUT!.

Navy veteran Kayt Peck reviewed the online reading saying, 

“I applaud the Museum of the American Military Family in their efforts to acknowledge LGBTQ service members, especially those who spent years, even decades serving in silence, protecting a country that did not recognize them as worthy citizens. This remains a dedicated mission for the Museum even as Covid makes live theatre an impossibility.

“SHOUT! accomplishes a critical need by making discussion of gays in the military not simply a discussion of a concept but also showing the impacts on real people and acknowledging the talents and dedication of LGBTQ service members. Those talents help make the military the efficient and effective component of society that it can and must be.”

Hall will be directing a virtual one-day matinee performance of SHOUT! on June 27, 2021 at 2 PM PDT.  The museum board and cast are raising funds to cover expenses through a dedicated fundraising platform. 

Air Force Spouse Aimee Hanebeck, one of the many volunteers working tirelessly to ensure the play moves forward, says, 

“This is an important work of theater and a source of great pride for the museum to have curated the stories for the play. In this innovative time of a post-Covid exposed world, artists have found ways to bring their craft to their audience, and as such, SHOUT! will be available in an online performance.

We would like to invite you to be a part of this project. As a nonprofit, the museum is sustained entirely by donations from patrons.  In order to uphold the dignity of this script, we have set a goal to fairly compensate the actors and staff, record the performance, and make it available for greater circulation and for use in academic and corporate settings.”

Volunteers have set up a dedicated Fundly account, and anyone who contributes to it will receive a  link to the June 27th performance.

The museum is a 501c3 all-volunteer non-profit located in Tijeras, New Mexico, seven miles east of Albuquerque. Visit the museum’s webpage to learn more about SHOUT!

CALL FOR STORIES: Schooling with Uncle Sam


On October 14, 2021,  the Museum of the American Military Family will observe the 75th anniversary of the opening of Defense Department Dependents Schools in Europe and the Far East by releasing a commemorative anthology,  “SCHOOLING WITH UNCLE SAM.”

The anthology will not focus on the school system history or governing policies but on  personal memories–what it was like to work or study in the school system, to live and work in a foreign country or military installation and move from year to year to another country or state  – the mundane, funny, or tragic events and interactions that made for a memorable experience. Stories should be about a certain time, event, or experience about school/work/life with DoDEA (or with its predecessor organizations such as DoDDS, USDESEA, DEG, etc.)

This is a chance to preserve a unique history and to be a part of it. It’s an opportunity to share a personal look at a world-wide school system serving America’s world-wide interests and assuring that your involvement with it will be recognized.

Your story  should be first-person and can be as long or short as you choose. Please also consider including black-and-white photos to help illustrate your memoir. You can submit up to three different pieces for the book.

Authors included in the anthology will receive a free copy of the book in lieu of payment.  All stories become the property of the Museum of the American Military Family Special Collections Library. Proceeds from the sale of the book will be used to help the Museum continue to bring exhibits and programming to the museum community free of charge.

Story suggestions … a unique classroom, your daily commute to school, your host nation neighborhood, a military “incident” in or around school, a favorite host nation restaurant or field trip experience,  a celebrity or high ranking or local dignitary visiting your school, something funny at school. Or an event memorable to you.

You need not be an accomplished writer to participate. MAMF will provide minor editing to sharpen your contribution.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, July 2, 2021. The anthology will be released at a public anniversary observance in October of 2021.

To submit a story, or for more information, please e-mail the submissions to

To learn more about the museum visit the website: and follow us on FB



Unclaimed Cremated Remains of 29 Deceased Veterans Interred on September 24, 2020 at the Santa Fe National Cemetery

SANTA FE–The cremated remains of twenty-nine military veterans who, upon their deaths were unclaimed by family members, were laid to rest with military honors today at the Santa Fe National Cemetery in a special 2020 Forgotten Heroes Funeral.

Due to COVID-19 protective health measures, the funeral was a private event attended by New Mexico Department of Veterans Services (DVS) Secretary Judy Griego, New Mexico Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Ken Nava, Santa Fe National Cemetery Interim Director Jennifer Dehorty, and a handful of staff members from DVS and Daniels Family Funeral Services of Albuquerque—all of whom were wearing protective masks and observed social distancing.

The entire service was videotaped and will be posted next week on the DVS website. Governor Michele Lujan Grisham delivered a videotaped eulogy, praising the fallen veterans for their sacrifice on behalf of all Americans.

“We are forced to host this ceremony virtually, but that should not diminish our effort to provide these veterans the ‘final salute’ they earned through their service to our country,” said the Governor. “This may be called the Forgotten Heroes Funeral, but these heroes, today, are not forgotten. May the souls of these 29 men rest now and forever in peace.”

Daniels Family Funeral Services donated the urns and also hosted a brief memorial service prior transporting the urns to the Santa Fe National Cemetery. Of the 29 veterans—all of them male—25 were from Bernalillo County, and four from Otero County. They were provided the formal military funeral through the Forgotten Heroes Burial Program. This collaborative effort between the state and all thirty-three counties in New Mexico ensures that any honorably discharged deceased veteran whose body goes unclaimed by family members receives a military funeral at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.

The program was created in 2009 through an initial collaboration with Bernalillo County, which sought assistance to help lay to rest—with honor–the cremated remains of its unclaimed deceased veterans. It was the first state-led collaborative effort in the nation to ensure that unclaimed deceased honorably discharged veterans receive a military funeral.

Interred with full military honors at today’s funeral were the following 25 veterans from Bernalillo County:

USAF Pvt. Adrian San Jose Christain Aarons (Date of death: 5/23/19)

U.S. Army (rank undetermined) Lionel Eugene Austin (12/31/18)

USAF A1C Robert Bell (8/23/18)

U.S Navy SA John D. Brant (12/31/17)

Army SP4 Dobbins D. Brown (8/10/18)

U.S. Coast Guard PO1 Richard Lee Bryson (1/31/18)

Army (rank undetermined) Jimmy Edward Chavez (2/25/18)

Army (rank undetermined) Fredrick Finfrock (3/19/19)

USAF MSgt. Arnold Alvin Fischer (9/14/18)

Army (rank undetermined) Horatio C. Flores (9/10/18)

USMC (rank undetermined) Bruce Charles Fox (2/1/19)

Navy (rank undetermined) Gregory Ayala Garcia (5/14/18)

Coast Guard PO3 Hugh Kenneth Gilmour (9/4/18)

Navy (rank undetermined) Fred Louis Hernandez (10/24/18)

USMC (rank undetermined) Perry Lee Hiner (6/11/18)

Army PFC Rafael Jesus Hinojosa (12/29/18)

USAF (rank undetermined) Jimmy Wayne Mattison (5/4/18)

Army PFC Gary W. Moore (7/16/18)

Army PFC Carlos Pinkston (4/30/18)

Navy SA Larry Wayne Reckard (7/3/18)

Army (rank undetermined) Don Anthony Saavedra (12/31/18)

USAF (rank undetermined) Herdia Luke Shell (9/25/18)

Army SP4 Darryl Howard Shrader (6/15/18)

USAF SSgt James Arthur Stevens (3/11/19)

USAF (rank undetermined) Hugh Godwin Vann II (9/22/18)

Interred today from Otero County:

USMC Cpl Earl Brubaker (3/27/17)

Navy P3 Elbert Stocks (3/13/18)

Army PVT Richard Wolfe (6/12/18)

USAF TSgt Buddy Milford (3/6/17)

Today’s funeral featured a flag-fold ceremony and 21-Rifle Volley performed by the New Mexico National Guard Honor Guard. Adjutant General Nava presented the folded American Flag used in the service to DVS Secretary Griego, who accepted it on behalf of Governor Lujan Grisham and the citizens of New Mexico.

Story: Ray Seva