Sept. 20th marks the end of DADT. It also marks the end of decades of discrimination against gays in this country by our own military. Almost 14000 military members were discharged since 1993 under DADT, but over 100,000 were discharged prior to DADT. This has been a longstanding battle for decades. So many gays and lesbians have suffered tremendously and needlessly. So many brave people have taken a stand and fought back against this horrible and senseless discrimination. I hold them all in my heart today for all that they have gone through for me and for this country. For those who have continued to serve with honor and integrity under DADT—stand a little taller today. You are being honored and appreciated for your service—at last! Yes, you can fly your rainbow flag today, but more importantly-- fly your military honor a little bit higher!
People ask me how I feel about the Air Force after the last seven years of court battles. I tell them, without hesitation, I would do it all again. To serve was one of the best decisions of my life. The people I met along the way and served side by side with, were worth every moment.
Today we have made great strides in equal rights. We still have a way to go for true equality. DOMA must fall. I would ask all those who, after today, no longer have to live in fear of discharge to become active in your community. Show the country we are well worthy of true equality. Let them see now--we are no different.