Dir. Berry - State Dept. Speech for LGBT Pride Month


Uploaded by USOPM on 09.06.2011

Transcript:
TONIGHT, WITH THAT, I WOULD LIKE TO INTRODUCE
OUR MAIN SPEAKER TODAY.
JOHN IS THE DIRECTOR OF THE UNITED STATES OFFICE
OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT.
HE'S ALSO A VERY PASSIONATE PUBLIC SERVANT.
HE IS THE HIGHEST-RANKING OPENLY GAY OFFICIAL
OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.
HE IS, AS YOU MANY OF YOU ALL PROBABLY KNOW,
HAS HAD A LONG AND DISTINGUISHED PUBLIC SERVANT HISTORY
FOR WORKING ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN HIS HOME STATE OF MARYLAND
TO SPENDING TIME IN THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION
WHERE WE FIRST MET.
HE HAS DEDICATED A CAREER, REALLY, TO PUBLIC SERVICE.
IN HIS LAST JOB,
BEFORE SERVING IN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION,
HE WAS THE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL ZOO,
WHICH HAS TO HAVE BEEN THE COOLEST JOB EVER.
[audience laugh]
I'M STILL KIND OF JEALOUS.
BUT WITH THAT, I'D LIKE TO SAY IT'S MY HONOR
TO INTRODUCE JOHN BERRY.
THANK YOU. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
[applause]
THANK YOU SO MUCH. THANK YOU SO MUCH.
OKAY. OKAY.
WELL, ICH BIN EIN BERLINER
[audience laugh]
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO CAME FOR THE FREE BEER,
YOU WANNA BE UPSTAIRS...
FOR THE CHANCELLOR.
IT IS A REAL HONOR TO BE HERE WITH YOU TODAY
AND IT IS A TREAT FOR ME TO BE HERE WITH SO MANY FRIENDS,
BUT ESPECIALLY, TO BE HERE WHILE YOU HAVE ONE
OF THE GREAT SECRETARIES OF STATE.
PROBABLY ONE OF THE ONES WHO CAN EQUAL AND RIVAL
THE SEAT THAT JEFFERSON FILLED.
AND IT IS AN HONOR TO BE HERE IN HER BUILDING,
AND SHE IS SUCH A LEADER
AND SOMEBODY THAT I HAVE LOOKED UP TO
AND HAVE USED AS A MENTOR IN MY LIFE
AS TO WHAT MAKES A GOOD LEADER.
AND-- SO EACH OF YOU ARE SO BLESSED AND FORTUNATE
TO HAVE HER AT THE HELM.
ALSO, I HAVE SO MANY FRIENDS HERE,
LINDA AND STEVE, AND AMBASSADOR POWELL,
WHO I WORKED WITH SO CLOSELY
ON SO MANY ISSUES OF HUMAN RESOURCES
ACROSS THE GOVERNMENT,
AND I'M VERY GRATEFUL FOR YOUR FRIENDSHIP
AND LEADERSHIP AS WELL
AND THE ASSISTANCE THAT YOU PROVIDE.
BUT MOST ESPECIALLY,
I'M ALSO GRATEFUL FOR EACH OF YOU IN THE ROOM
BECAUSE YOU CARRY SUCH AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE
FOR OUR CIVIL SERVICE, FOR OUR FOREIGN SERVICE,
FOR ALL AMERICANS,
TO KNOW THE DEDICATION AND THE COMMITMENT
THAT EACH OF YOU BRING.
YOU KNOW, WAR FIGHTING IN THE 21st CENTURY
IS NO LONGER JUST A CASE OF MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM,
YOU'VE KNOWN THAT FOREVER,
BUT I TELL PEOPLE SINCE '92,
A HUNDRED THOUSAND PEOPLE HAVE BEEN ON THE GROUND
IN IRAQ, IN AFGHANISTAN, WHO ARE EITHER CIVIL SERVICE,
FOREIGN SERVICE, OR INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS.
THEY ARE NO LONGER, SORT OF, IN THE BACK
WHILE THE MILITARY IS ON THE FRONT LINES.
THEY'RE SO INTEGRATED THAT THE RISK IS AMAZING,
AND THE THREAT, SIGNIFICANT.
AND 2,965 AMERICANS IN OUR CIVIL SERVICE
HAVE GIVEN THEIR LIVES SINCE 1992,
MANY OF THEM, YOUR COLLEAGUES.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR OATH TO DEFEND OUR CONSTITUTION,
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE TO THIS NATION,
AND THANK YOU FOR THE EXAMPLE YOU GIVE TO THE COUNTRY.
SO IT IS MY HONOR AND MY PLEASURE
TO BE HERE WITH YOU.
IT'S ALSO AN HONOR TO BE HERE TO CELEBRATE LGBT PRIDE MONTH
AND TO MARK A SOLEMN BUT HOPEFUL ANNIVERSARY
OF THE 30th ANNIVERSARY OF THE RECOGNITION OF AIDS.
I'D LIKE TO SHARE JUST A FEW THOUGHTS
ABOUT WHAT PRIDE MEANS TO ME
AS WELL AS THE HIGHS AND LOWS
OF THE LAST 5 1/2 DECADES OF OUR LGBT STORY.
TWO YEARS BEFORE I WAS BORN,
DR. FRANK KAMENY,
A VETERAN OF WORLD WAR 2
AND A PHD ASTRONOMER,
WAS FIRED BY THE UNITED STATES CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION SOLELY,
SOLELY FOR BEING A HOMOSEXUAL.
WHEN I WAS 9,
1968,
I RECALL VIVIDLY RIDING DOWN GEORGIA AVENUE
THROUGH WASHINGTON, DC,
WHILE PEOPLE BURNED BUILDINGS
AND DESTROYED WHOLE NEIGHBORHOODS
OUT OF ANGER OVER THE TRAGIC LOSS
OF A GREAT AMERICAN LEADER,
THE REVEREND DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.,
AND THEIR FRUSTRATION OVER THE BRUTAL RACISM
AND SO CRUSHING PREJUDICE THAT AFRICAN-AMERICAN STILL ENDURED
MORE THAN A CENTURY AFTER OUR CIVIL WAR.
I BEGAN MY CAREER WITH REPRESENTATIVE STENY HOYER
OF MARYLAND IN 1985.
HE WAS A MEMBER OF THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE,
WHICH WAS CHAIRED BY A GENTLEMAN FROM MISSISSIPPI.
OUT OF APPROXIMATELY 100 STAFF
ON THAT COMMITTEE,
THEY EMPLOYED 1 AFRICAN-AMERICAN,
THE DOORMAN.
THIS IS '85, NOT '55.
I NEVER DREAMT, I NEVER DREAMT
THAT JANUARY 20, 2009 WOULD HAVE HAPPENED
IN MY LIFETIME.
BUT THANK GOD,
AMERICA HAS A WAY OF SURPRISING YOU.
I ALSO NEVER DREAMT THAT THE PRESIDENT WOULD APPOINT
AND THAT A BIPARTISAN SENATE WOULD CONFIRM AN OPENLY GAY MAN
TO HEAD THE SUCCESSOR ORGANIZATION
OF THE US CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION
THAT FIRED DR. KAMENY.
BUT IT BECAME VERY REAL TO ME IN 2009
WHEN I HAD THE HONOR OF STANDING ON STAGE WITH DR. KAMENY
TO PRESENT TO HIM ON BEHALF OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
OUR AGENCY'S HIGHEST HONOR
AND AN OFFICIAL APOLOGY FOR THE SAD
AND POINTLESS INJUSTICE HE HAD SUFFERED 52 YEARS BEFORE.
AMERICA HAS A WAY OF SURPRISING YOU.
THE PATH TO OUR EQUALITY BEGINS
IN THAT WORLD WAR 2 GENERATION.
LIKE FRANK KAMENY AND MOST OF THE MEN OF THAT AGE,
MY DAD, SERVED IN THAT WAR.
HE SIGNED UP FOR THE MARINES AT 18 BEFORE PEARL HARBOR
AND WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO GET OFF GUADALCANAL ALIVE.
THEIR GENERATION ROSE ABOVE THE PROBATION
OF A GREAT DEPRESSION AND VANQUISHED HITLER
AND FASCISM.
WHY TELL THE STORY?
I TELL IT BECAUSE THE CHALLENGES
THAT FORGED OF THEM ALSO TEMPERED MANY OF THEM
WITH A GREAT HUMILITY,
AND THE POSSIBILITY THAT THEY MIGHT JUST BE WRONG
ON SOME THINGS.
ON THIS,
THE 30th ANNIVERSARY YEAR OF THE AIDS CRISIS,
IT IS FOREMOST IN MY MIND.
THIS DISEASE HAS CUT A PATH OF DESTRUCTION THROUGH AMERICA
AND THROUGH OUR LGBT COMMUNITY IN PARTICULAR.
TODAY, OVER 1.1 MILLION AMERICANS
LIVE WITH HIV-AIDS,
AND MORE THAN 50,000 ARE NEWLY INFECTED EVERY YEAR,
AND THEN THERE'S THE PERSONAL TOLL.
I KNOW MANY OF YOU IN THIS ROOM
HAVE LOST FRIENDS OR FAMILY.
I LOST MY FIRST PARTNER OF TEN YEARS.
TOM DIED AFTER A PROTRACTED AND GRUELING BATTLE WITH AIDS
THAT REDUCED A 6'2", 190-POUND ATHLETE
TO 90 POUNDS AT HIS DEATH.
BUT EVEN AS HE WAS SLIPPING AWAY,
I FOUND A KERNEL OF HOPE.
MY FATHER WAS A DEVOUT CATHOLIC.
HE WENT TO MASS EVERYDAY.
HE DIDN'T TAKE IT WELL WHEN I CAME OUT TO HIM
AT THE AGE OF 25.
OUR FAMILY WAS CLOSE, WE ATE DINNER EVERY SUNDAY,
BUT MY DAD, WHEN I CAME OUT, SAID,
"DON'T BRING YOUR FRIEND."
THE REST OF MY FAMILY WAS VERY WELCOMING
AND THEY EMPLOYED A CREATIVE STRATEGY.
TOM BECAME, SORT OF, THE EMPTY SEAT AT THE TABLE.
TOM IS SO GREAT. TOM HELPED US MOVE.
TOM BABYSAT THE KIDS.
THAT IT GOT TO THE POINT WHERE WHEN ONE NIGHT,
MY DAD PULLED ME ASIDE AND SAID,
"WHY DON'T YOU INVITE TOM TO DINNER NEXT SUNDAY."
GRADUALLY, HE WELCOMED MY PARTNER INTO THE FAMILY
AND HE BONDED WITH HIM TO THE POINT
WHERE THE NIGHT BEFORE TOM DIED,
MY DAD HELD HIM IN HIS ARMS,
WEEPING OVER THE LOSS OF HIS SON-IN-LOVE,
IF NOT IN-LAW.
MY DAD'S CAPACITY TO CHANGE,
TO GROW, AND TO LEARN
THAT THE ACCEPTED HOMOPHOBIA OF HIS YOUTH WAS WRONG.
THAT WAS MY KERNEL OF HOPE.
THAT, TO ME, IS THE CORE OF THE AMERICAN CHARACTER.
IF HE COULD RALLY AROUND ME AND TOM,
THEN AMERICA COULD CHANGE.
AMERICA COULD RALLY AROUND PEOPLE WITH AIDS,
AND IT WOULDN'T JUST BE A GAY DISEASE OR AN EPIDEMIC
THAT AFFECTED A SHUNNED MINORITY,
BUT SOMETHING THAT WE COULD FIGHT TOGETHER
AS A COUNTRY.
AND I THINK THAT THAT HAS HAPPENED,
BUT WE CAN'T KID OURSELVES.
THIS EPIDEMIC GOES ON.
THE NEED GOES ON.
AND WE MUST, EACH OF US, CONTINUE TO SUPPORT
SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS
THAT DO OUTREACH IN HIGH-RISK COMMUNITIES
AND PROVIDE SERVICES FOR PATIENTS AND FAMILIES.
WE MUST HELP RESEARCH ORGANIZATIONS
THAT ARE DEVELOPING NEW TREATMENTS,
AND, HOPEFULLY, A CURE.
AND MOST IMPORTANT,
MOST IMPORTANT, EACH OF US MUST EDUCATE A WHOLE NEW GENERATION
OF THE IMPORTANCE OF SAFE SEX.
EACH OF US MUST ASK OURSELVES WHAT WE CAN DO
AND THEN GO OUT AND DO IT.
IF OUR MOTHER'S AND FATHER'S GENERATION
WAS DEFINED BY ADVERSITY,
I BELIEVE AND WOULD ARGUE THAT OUR GENERATION
IS DEFINED BY OPPORTUNITY.
HOW UNIQUE IS THE PERIOD IN WHICH WE LIVE?
WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO GO UP A LITTLE HIGHER
TO GET A BETTER PERSPECTIVE.
RECORDED HUMAN HISTORY,
6,000 YEARS,
ALMOST LAUGHABLE IN GEOLOGIC TIME,
AND I WOULD ARGUE THAT IT IS NOT AN EVER-RISING LINE
CULMINATING IN THE CURRENT DAY.
INSTEAD, HISTORY IS A STORY OF PEAKS AND VALLEYS.
AND SADLY,
THE PEAKS ARE USUALLY FAR SHORTER
THAN THE VALLEYS.
THE AGE OF PERICLES,
THE AGE OF AUGUSTUS,
MAYBE 20 YEARS EACH,
THAT'S IT.
AND YET, THEY WERE SO GREAT
THAT THEY BUILT A LIGHTHOUSE OF CIVILIZATION
THAT SHOWN ITS LIGHT ACROSS A MILLENNIUM
AND CALLED FORTH THE RENAISSANCE
AND THE AGE OF REASON.
I WOULD ARGUE THAT OUR PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS
SLUGGED THROUGH A GREAT DEPRESSION
AND TWO WORLD WARS TO BEQUEATH TO US
OUR OWN GREAT PEAK OF HISTORY.
THINK ABOUT IT.
THE MEN THAT WALKED ON THE MOON
STILL WALK AMONGST US TODAY.
IN JUST THE PAST FEW DECADES,
WE HAVE ACCOMPLISHED THAT,
BUT WE HAVE ALSO CRACKED THE HUMAN GENOME,
WE HAVE CREATED THE INTERNET,
AND SPLIT THE ATOM.
IF THE PRINTING PRESS LAUNCHED THE AGE OF REASON,
WHAT NEW GREAT AGE OF DISCOVERY AWAITS US
WITH THE UNFATHOMABLE KNOWLEDGE THAT WE CAN NOW ACCESS
AT THE STROKE OF A KEY?
THE CELL PHONE THAT YOU HOLD IN YOUR POCKET
HOLDS MORE INFORMATION THAN THE ANCIENT LIBRARY
AT ALEXANDRIA.
I BELIEVE THAT WE ARE ACTUALLY LIVING
AMIDST ONE OF THE HIGHEST AND LONGEST PEAKS
OF ALL RECORDED HUMAN HISTORY,
AND THE GOOD NEWS IS IT AIN'T OVER YET.
WE NEED, EACH OF US IN THE ROOM
NEED TO THINK ABOUT OUR OWN COMMUNITY
AND THE ROLE THAT BOTH GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
AND LGBT PEOPLE HAVE MADE AMIDST THOSE PEAKS.
SOCRATES, ARISTOTLE,
ALEXANDER THE GREAT,
MICHAEL ANGELO, EVERY ONE OF THEM, LGBT.
THEY WERE ALL INSTRUMENTAL IN THE SUCCESS OF THEIR PEAKS.
SO NO PRESSURE.
BUT WHAT GREAT WONDERS ARE EACH OF YOU GOING TO DO
IN YOUR LIFE...
TO HELP TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS AGE OF OPPORTUNITY
TO BUILD OUR LIGHTHOUSE HIGHER AND BRIGHTER
SO THAT OUR LIGHT CAN SHINE ACROSS A MILLENNIUM.
SCRIPTURE SAYS,
"YOU WILL KNOW THEM BY THEIR FRUITS."
OUR FRUITS,
OUR LOVE AND JOY,
THEY ARE EMPATHY.
THEY ARE CREATIVITY.
WE ARE THE POETRY OF WALT WHITMAN
AND JAMES BALDWIN.
THE PLAYS OF TENNESSEE WILLIAMS
AND TONY KUSHNER.
THE ART OF GRANT WOOD
AND DAVID HOCKNEY.
THE MUSIC OF JOSEPHINE BAKER
AND COLE PORTER.
BUT WE ARE ALSO THE ROCK-SOLID COURAGE
OF MARK BINGHAM,
WHO CHARGED THE COCKPIT OF FLIGHT 93
ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2001,
AND DANIEL HERNANDEZ,
WHO RUSHED TO THE SIDE OF GABRIELLE GIFFORDS
IN A HAIL OF GUNFIRE.
WE ARE THE PROVEN LEADERSHIP IN THE PUBLIC SQUARE
OF HARVEY MILK AND ANNISE PARKER,
NOW THE MAYOR OF AMERICA'S FOURTH LARGEST CITY.
WE HAVE ACHIEVED WHAT MANY THOUGHT WE COULDN'T
BECAUSE AMERICA HAS A WAY OF SURPRISING YOU.
LESS THAN TWO YEARS AGO,
KILLING SOMEONE JUST BECAUSE OF WHO THEY LOVED
RECEIVED NO SPECIAL ATTENTION.
TODAY, AMERICA'S MORAL STAND IS CLEAR,
FEDERAL HATE CRIMES LAWS NOW INCLUDES SEXUAL ORIENTATION
AND GENDER IDENTITY.
LESS THAN TWO YEARS AGO,
THOSE LIVING WITH AIDS OR OTHER PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS
COULD NOT FIND HEALTH INSURANCE IN OUR LAND.
NOW THEY HAVE THEIR ACCESS TO THAT,
GUARANTEED.
ONE YEAR AGO,
HOSPITALS COULD KEEP US FROM OUR ILL-PARTNER'S SIDE,
NOW, WE ARE SAFE AND ARE VOWED TO BE TOGETHER
IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH.
LESS THAN ONE YEAR AGO,
THE BRAVEST HEROES AMONG US
COULD NOT OPENLY AND HONESTLY SERVE THEIR NATION,
NOR LAY DOWN THEIR LIFE FOR THEIR FLAG,
BUT STARTING THIS YEAR,
GAY MEN AND WOMEN WILL BE ABLE TO SERVE OUR NATION OPENLY
WITH HONOR, INTEGRITY, AND PRIDE.
AS PRESIDENT OBAMA SAID,
"NO LONGER WILL MANY THOUSANDS BE ASKED TO LIVE A LIE
IN ORDER TO SERVE THE COUNTRY THAT THEY LOVE."
AMIDST OUR STRUGGLE AGAINST, "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL MY DAD
AS I MENTIONED TO YOU" IS VERY MATTER-OF-FACT GUY
HE SAID, YOU KNOW, I DON'T EVEN KNOW WITH ALL THESE FUZZ
ABOUT GAYS IN THE MILITARY IS ALL ABOUT.
WE DIDN'T CALL THEM GAY BACK THEN
BUT THEY WERE THERE,
AND THEY DIED AS BRAVELY AS ANYBODY ELSE.
TO PARAPHRASE DICKENS,
"FAMILY IS NOT DEFINED ONLY BY THOSE WITH WHOM WE SHARE BLOOD,
BUT BY THOSE FOR WHOM WE WOULD SHED OUR BLOOD."
AS IT IS IN WAR,
SO IT IS IN LOVE.
AMERICA IS BECOMING FAMILIAR
WITH OUR DEEP AND ABIDING COMMITMENT
TO FIDELITY AND LOVE,
WHICH IS ONE OF THE REASONS PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS CALLED
FOR THE CONGRESSIONAL APPEAL OF THE DEFENSIVE MARRIAGE ACT.
I KNOW FOUR COUPLES
WHO HAVE NEARLY 100 YEARS OF COMMITMENT AND LOVE
BETWEEN US.
ONE OF THEM WORKS RIGHT HERE
IN YOUR BUREAU OF CONSULAR AFFAIRS,
MAX AGUILAR.
MAX AND HIS PARTNER, LEN, HAVE BEEN FRIENDS
FOR OVER A QUARTER OF A DECADE
AND THEY HAVE BEEN COMMITTED TO EACH OTHER
AND WILL CELEBRATE THEIR 25th ANNIVERSARY
THIS FALL.
[applause]
NOW DON'T GET ME WRONG.
WE ARE NOT SAINTS.
WE FIGHT, WE FALTER,
WE FAIL.
BUT FIDELITY IS NOT ABOUT PERFECTION,
IT'S ABOUT STAYING IN THE GAME THROUGH THICK AND THIN
AND HOLDING ON TO LOVE NO MATTER WHAT.
TWO OF US LOST PARTNERS TO AIDS,
AND BOTH OF US WERE THEIR PRIMARY CAREGIVERS.
NONE OF US WERE MARRIED,
BUT I DARE ANYBODY TO SAY THAT WE ARE NOT IN LOVE.
GAY, LESBIAN, AND PARENTS RAISE CHILDREN
IN LOVING AND CARING HOMES
AND TREASURE THEIR CHILDREN EVERY BIT AS MUCH
AS EVERY AMERICAN.
AND OUR ENTIRE LGBT COMMUNITY,
WHETHER PARENTS OR NOT,
WEEP AT THE WOEFUL AND OH SO NEEDLESS TRAGEDY
OF BULLYING AND TEEN SUICIDE.
WE KNOW THE VALUE, THE INNOCENCE,
AND THE OPPORTUNITY THAT IS REPRESENTED
IN EVERY CHILD,
AND WE WILL WORK WITH ALL AMERICANS
TO BUILD A FUTURE WORTHY OF THEIR POTENTIAL.
AND AS AMERICA SEES IN US,
AN APPRECIATION OF HOW EVERY JOB
MUST BE DONE NOT ONLY WELL
BUT BETTER WITHOUT PREJUDICE,
I BELIEVE THAT AMERICA WILL SURPRISE US AGAIN
WITH A FULLY-INCLUSIVE EMPLOYMENT
NON-DISCRIMINATION ACT.
THE VICTORIES THAT WE HAVE WON
AND THE PROGRESS THAT WILL COME
BELONG TO OUR COMMUNITY AND OUR ALLIES.
EACH OF US SHOULD TAKE PRIDE IN REPRESENTATIVES FRANK,
BALDWIN, POLIS, AND CICILLINE.
WE SHOULD TAKE PRIDE IN THE RECORD NUMBER
OF LGBT ADMINISTRATION APPOINTEES
WHO ARE WORKING ON BEHALF OF OUR COMMUNITY.
BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY,
TAKE PRIDE OF EACH OF YOU IN THIS ROOM,
ESPECIALLY THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE NEVER FLAGGED
OR NEVER FALTERED.
YOU'VE STAYED IN THE FIGHT
SO THAT OUR CIVIL RIGHTS COULD ADVANCE,
AND SO THAT AMERICA'S PLEDGE COULD RING TRUE,
"ONE REPUBLIC,
ONE NATION WITH LIBERTY
AND JUSTICE FOR ALL."
WE WOULD NOT HAVE ACCOMPLISHED ALL OF THESE STEPS
WITHOUT OUR STRAIGHT ALLIES IN THE CONGRESS AND THE CABINET,
AND OF COURSE, THE PRESIDENT.
NONE OF THESE VICTORIES WAS EASY,
AND I WOULD TELL YOU, THERE WERE MOMENTS
ESPECIALLY ON "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL"
WHEN I DESPAIRED OF GETTING IT DONE.
BUT ONE MAN, THE PRESIDENT,
NEVER WAVERED, NEVER FALTERED,
AND HE SAW IT THROUGH THE VICTORY.
OUR LIVES, OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS,
THIS PEAK OF HISTORY,
IT'S MORE THAN JUST A CHECKLIST,
MORE THAN A VICTORY FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO SERVE
IN THE MILITARY.
IT IS NOTHING LESS THAN THE FORMATION
OF A NEW RING OF LIFE
ON THE AMERICAN TREE OF LIBERTY.
MAKE NO MISTAKE,
OUR COUNTRY CONTINUES TO ADVANCE,
AND THANKFULLY,
THE TREE OF LIBERTY GROWS BUT IN ONE DIRECTION,
BY ADDING RINGS.
THAT MIRACULOUS QUALITY HAS PRODUCED THE PROUD
AND SHELTERING AND LIVING TREE
WHOSE BRANCHES HAVE WITHSTOOD
THE LIGHTNING STRIKES OF SUCCESSION
AND THE GALE-FORCE WINDS OF FASCISM AND COMMUNISM.
THE RINGS OF THAT TREE ARE NOURISHED BY HONESTY AND TRUTH.
THEY ARE WARMED BY LOVE AND JUSTICE,
AND THEY ARE ROOTED IN RESPECT AND DIGNITY.
THE BATTLES WON BY FRANK KAMENY
AND GAY AND LESBIAN SERVICE MEMBERS
ARE NOT ISOLATED EVENTS.
THEY ARE, IN FACT, THE BIRTH OF A NEW RING OF LIFE
ON THE AMERICAN TREE OF LIBERTY,
AND WE CANNOT REST
UNTIL THAT RING IS SECURE,
NOT ONLY FOR AMERICANS,
BUT FOR ALL WHO LOOKED TO OUR LAND
AS A BEACON OF COURAGE AND LIGHT
AS THEY FIGHT IN THE DARKNESS OF INTOLERANCE
IN MANY PARTS OF THE WORLD.
LET OUR GOOD DEEDS
OUTSTRIP THE HATE OF THE MINORITY
WITH OVERWHELMING LOVE.
LET OUR GOOD CHEER
TURN THE FEAR OF THE FEW
INTO THE COURAGE OF THE MANY.
AND LET US SURPRISE ALL OF THE CYNICS
AND CALL FORTH NOTHING LESS
THAN A RENAISSANCE OF HUMAN ACHIEVEMENT.
THIS IS OUR CHALLENGE,
THIS IS OUR OPPORTUNITY,
AND RISING TO MEET IT SHOULD BE OUR JOY.
GOD BLESS EACH OF YOU
AND GOD BLESS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
[applause]