Sometimes, acceptance is found where you least expect it.
That was the case for World War II veteran John Banvard (above, left) and his husband Gerard “Jerry” Nadeau (above, right), a Vietnam vet, who expected backlash from fellow residents after tying the knot at the veterans home where they lived.
Thankfully, the couple was pleasantly surprised by how accepting the other vets at their Chula Vista, California nursing home were, despite having been previously confused about what John and Jerry’s relationship was.
While they remained coy about their love story for years, the military veterans have been together for “almost 25 years,” and were both “sort of” in the closet when they met back in 1993.
Speaking on NPR‘s Morning Edition radio show on Friday, the 100-year-old John explained:
“When we met, we were sort of in the closet, and I’d never had a real relationship.”
At the time, John’s wife of over 35 years had died almost a decade prior and he had never been in a serious relationship with a man. Neither had Jerry.
Although the two had different interests — John was an art and theater geek while Jerry was an outdoorsman — the pair hit it off and fell in love.
It wasn’t until 2013, after three years of living together, did the vets decide to take the next step in their relationship: getting married in a casual ceremony at the nursing home where they lived, with hot dogs served as the main course!
Though John was “expecting we’d be ridiculed,” he was happy to find the other vets were accepting of their love. Remembering one sweet moment when another resident introduced the couple to his family, the 72-year-old Jerry said:
“I was with you in the cafeteria, and somebody came up with their family, and they said, ‘This is Gerard Nadeau, and this is his husband, John.'”
Jerry explained that this was the first time he had heard John referred to as his husband.
Awww, true love really is worth the wait! Acceptance shouldn’t have to be — but better late than never, right?
[Image via Facebook.]