President Obama signed into law this morning the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Addressing his remarks to the gay men and women currently serving in the military, he said:
“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.
And so, as the first generation to serve openly in our Armed Forces, you will stand for all those who came before you, and you will serve as role models to all who come after. And I know that you will fulfill this responsibility with integrity and honor, just as you have every other mission with which you’ve been charged.”
The President concluded:
“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.” 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. 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.”
In his remarks the President extended his thanks to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and all the Democrats in Congress who helped make this happen. He also extended his thanks to Sen. Joe Liberman (I-CT) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) who worked so hard to make this happen.
You can add your voice to the President’s and say thank you to Congress here.