Let's Not Forget Another Who Saved Someone's Life

  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Jan 18, 2011 12:41 AM GMT
    We've all heard about Daniel Hernandez
    The young gay intern who in all likelihood saved Gabriel Gifford's life after she was was shot in the head by an assassin's bullet
    and he deserves all the accolades that he's been getting

    But there was someone else who saved a famous life more than 30 years ago
    and he also happened to be gay
    His Name was Oliver "Billy" Sipple
    I was too young to remember this when it happened
    But I recently heard a story how Billy Sipple saved Gerald Ford from being shot in 1975

    Billy Sipple was a Viet nam vet who was shot twice
    once in the head ..... when the war was over he went to San Francisco
    where he could be himself .... which was gay

    On September 22, 1975, late President Ford attended an event at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. Sipple joined a crowd that gathered to see Ford. Sipple didn't know at the time that he was standing near Sara Jane Moore, who was planning an assassination attempt on the President. The woman unsuccessfully fired one shot at Ford. Oliver Sipple grabbed her arm before she could fire a second shot.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/30/AR2006123000160.html

    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRYQtNk0Ii5GMQ-mdrBv26
    Billy became a National Hero and because of his celebrity he was outed by the press
    His family disowned him and he died at 47 years old
    suffering from alcoholism in a rundown apt in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco

    "There were a lot of times he wished he had never saved the president's life, for all the anguish it caused him," says his older brother, George Franklin Sipple, 66, of New Boston, Mich. "He only said it when he was drinking. He said life would have been so much simpler if he hadn't have done it."

    Hanging on the wall of his apartment was the framed letter from Gerald Ford
    thanking him for saving his life

    Oliver Billy Sipple was never invited to the White House or interviewed by the press .... probably because he was gay
    His funeral was attended by fewer than 30 people
    I cannot tell you how sad this story made me and how much it made me realize how very far we have come
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    Jan 18, 2011 3:31 AM GMT
    Thanks for posting this. I never knew about this, and I clearly should have.
  • Little_Spoon

    Posts: 1562

    Jan 18, 2011 3:32 AM GMT
    You guys, I'm fine.


    I haven't died yet...
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    Jan 18, 2011 4:29 AM GMT
    Thanks for sharing. It is tragic how a hero ended his life.
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    Jan 18, 2011 12:26 PM GMT
    Great post... great story to read.
    GQjock said
    Oliver Billy Sipple was never invited to the White House or interviewed by the press .... probably because he was gay
    His funeral was attended by fewer than 30 people
    I cannot tell you how sad this story made me and how much it made me realize how very far we have come

    I don't know it that would be the reason... the other guy did not seem to find the presidents actions to be very welcoming either. Yes, Oliver was more of a hero than Ludwig... but I kind of get the impression that Ford was a jackass regardless of what your orientation might have been (he certainly does not come off as being grateful or generous in the article.)
    The White House made contact. As Ludwig recalls, he was asked if he needed any help. All Ludwig wanted was to meet the president. But he was told the president had no time in his schedule... Embittered by the apparent brushoff, Ludwig told a newspaper reporter, "To hell with Ford." (No mention of whether or not Ludwig was gay...)

    The other (somewhat positive) thing I got from the article was.
    "Eventually, the family tensions eased and Oliver Sipple was welcomed back into the fold, says his brother. They accepted it," George says of his late parents. "That was all. They didn't like it, but they still accepted. He was welcomed. Only thing was: Don't bring a lot of your friends."

    Sort of sounds like some (many?) present day reactions to coming out...