I wound up waking up in time to watch this live.
[Audio, no captions, full 20 minute speech]
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.
Dan Savage sums it up best in DADT Is History. He points out how we got here and where we go from now:
I think the Obama administration and Harry Reid and (eesh) Joe Lieberman deserve shitloads of credit for getting us here, for getting this done, for the change that begins today. Professional lefties, bloggers, and activists—from the mainstream groups like SLDN to the folks outside the White House chaining themselves to the fence—took issue with the pace and strategy, and had serious and justified doubts about the actual commitment of the Obama administration to getting this done this year.
And he calls it “change that begins today”, because the repeal is only the start of the process to certify military readiness to implement the new laws.
Nor is the fight over yet: anti-gay hate groups have already started working to stop this, and an unidentified senator tried to attach a spoiler on the spending bill. McCain will be working with designated hate-group FRC to put up as many roadblocks in the certification process as possible.