Editor's note: Today marks one year since President Obama signed into law the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." After 17 years of this discriminatory policy being on the books, the President kept his promise to bring equality to our armed forces. One veteran reflects on the magnitude of repeal—and where she was one year ago.
One year ago, the United States came a little closer to equal justice for all.
I remember the moment when I heard the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal bill had passed in the House of Representatives. It felt like I was dreaming. Could we really have repealed it—after 17 years and more than 14,000 service men and women discharged because of sexual orientation? That day, I wept with a sense of vindication for all the efforts that had preceded this moment, and I knew I wanted to be where the action was—to witness history being made.
I was asked to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the signing ceremony for the repeal bill on December 22, 2011. As a naturalized American citizen who lost my career because of sexual orientation and who fought with thousands of activists for the repeal of DADT, it was a humbling moment. As we recited the pledge, it sounded louder, voices proud and breaking with the awesomeness of the moment. So many of us wore the uniform representing the flag. And from that day on, thanks to the repeal of DADT, the flag now truly represents us.
From the beginning of his time in office, President Obama worked for repeal of DADT—and what extraordinary leadership he showed to assure that it happened. It is a tremendous testament to perseverance and achievement—and a true promise kept—for those of us who worked for repeal.