11 NOVEMBER 2000
NATIONAL CEMETERY – PHOENIX, ARIZONA
Delivered by James P. Donovan
American Veterans for Equal Rights
Throughout the history of our country, people have remembered their fallen brothers and sisters. Go to any small town in the East and you will see monuments commemorating battles and events of the Revolutionary War. Move further West and see the monuments to the Civil War and those who fell in that conflict. Indeed, our Memorial Day was founded by widows decorating the graves of the men and women who died in that war.
And the list goes on. The Spanish-American War, the two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, and the “little” wars of the last two decades, including more recently, the tragedy with the USS Cole.
Our gay brothers and sisters have always been included in these great losses, and now it is time on this Veterans Day to include them in the Honor Roll of this “bivouac of the dead.” No less have GLB folk been prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for freedom, and many did.
So now our comrades will have their monument.
I am so very proud of the Arizona Rainbow Veterans for leading this Charge of Remembrance. This act is part of the same selflessness that our community has always been prepared to make, only now it is open and public.
When Wally Straughn first made the announcement at the GLBVA Convention in Palm Springs, the enthusiasm was stupendous: that so simple an idea, involving so much work was finally going to be a reality.
And now it is. We can never replace these individuals, but now we can honor all those men and women who served with honor, courage and pride.