~Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
Today is a good day. Vice President Biden said so as he readied to introduce President Obama. President Obama also said it is a good day. As our President said, it has taken nearly two decades, and actually 200 years, to reach this good day.
And I say it is a good day. A day that has been long-time coming, long over due, but then again many important things in our United States history have been long-time coming such as freedom from slavery, women’s right to own property, to have the right to vote, the civil rights finally afforded to Black Americans, women’s abortion rights, women’s rights to equal pay, and gay and lesbian rights unfolding, with still more to come. But even despite the delay in reaching this goal, we did it, and it is an historic day of celebration for many. Very soon, those gays and lesbians serving our country should be treated with respect and equality. Finally.
Here are excerpts from President Obama’s speech today before his signing of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
“Finally, I want to speak directly to the gay men and women currently serving in our military. For a long time your service has demanded a particular kind of sacrifice. You’ve been asked to carry the added burden of secrecy and isolation. And all the while, you’ve put your lives on the line for the freedoms and privileges of citizenship that are not fully granted to you.
“You’re not the first to have carried this burden, for while today marks the end of a particular struggle that has lasted almost two decades, this is a moment more than two centuries in the making.
“There will never be a full accounting of the heroism demonstrated by gay Americans in service to this country; their service has been obscured in history. It’s been lost to prejudices that have waned in our own lifetimes. But at every turn, every crossroads in our past, we know gay Americans fought just as hard, gave just as much to protect this nation and the ideals for which it stands.
“There can be little doubt there were gay soldiers who fought for American independence, who consecrated the ground at Gettysburg, who manned the trenches along the Western Front, who stormed the beaches of Iwo Jima. Their names are etched into the walls of our memorials. Their headstones dot the grounds at Arlington.”
“...For we are not a nation that says, “don’t ask, don’t tell.” We are a nation that says, “Out of many, we are one.” (Applause.) We are a nation that welcomes the service of every patriot. We are a nation that believes that all men and women are created equal. (Applause.) Those are the ideals that generations have fought for. Those are the ideals that we uphold today. And now, it is my honor to sign this bill into law. (Applause.)
[see full video and transcript of President Obama's Speech]
This video is LeAnn Rimes singing “The Rose,” with the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Chorus backing her up. Several years ago Don and I saw the L.A. Gay Men’s Chorus perform and they were excellent. Enjoy ...