11 NOVEMBER 2000
NATIONAL CEMETERY – PHOENIX, ARIZONA
Delivered by Rev. Patrick Stout
Community Church of Hope
We have come today to honor our family members who have served and are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. We come to share our gratitude, our support and our pride.
The sacrifice paid by these veterans includes their lives, their loves, and their freedom of speech about who they are.
Somewhere near our faded ribbons you’ll find our pride. We are the veterans that may not have fired a shot, but are important too.
We are the veterans that didn’t have a voice; we feared the witch hunts. Though it wasn’t always easy, and it wasn’t fair, When freedom cried we answered; we were there.
Still, through it all, we are the veterans that may never be the same…
We served proudly in silence.
Some of the people we honor here today are:
- Army Col. Margarethe Carnmermeyer
- Dusty Pruitt
- Miriam Ben-Shalom
- Copy Berg
- Dr. Tom Dooley
- Andy Holmes
- Mary Ann Humphrey
- Leonard Matlovich
- Tim McVeigh
- Keith Meinhold
- Alan Schindler
- Baron von Steuben
- Tom Swann
- Perry Watkins
and thousands of others who have served, who are serving; those who have died and those who are living.
Our veterans have served with pride not only against the enemy from sources outside the United States, but also from enemies who have the potential of killing dreams, hope, and their very personhood.
Yet, these veterans have persevered in a system that does not honor who they are and has put into place a system that continues to ask them to lie. We honor those who have chosen to serve knowing the potential problems that may come their way.
We honor here today veterans who have fought or served in the following wars:
- American Revolution
- War of1812
- Mexican War
- Civil War
- Spanish-American War
- World War I
- World War II
- Korean War
- Vietnam War
- Persian Gulf War
And we honor all who have fought in such places as:
- Belieau Wood
- The Argonne
- Omaha Beach
- Pork Chop Hill
- The Chosin Reservoir
- Rice Paddies and Jungles of Vietnam
- Deserts of the Persian Gulf War
And we honor those who have served in peace times all across the world. Their willingness to be prepared and to serve is and has been crucial to all of us.
The Preamble to the National Constitution of Gay, Lesiban and Bisexual Veterans of America, Inc. states:
We firmly believe that the inalienable rights secured to all Americans by The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the sentiments they represent, and the historic record of their defense by countless selfless citizens, include the right to privacy in our lives, and the right to live free open lives within the American society, irrespective of race, creed, ethnic, cultural or place of national origin, age, economic or marital status, gender or gender identification, sexual orientation, and actual or perceived differences in physical or other ability.
We dedicate this memorial today:
“In memory of all veterans who served with courage and pride.”
Donated by the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Veterans of America.
President Bill Clinton in his inaugural address said:
“in serving, we recognize a simple but powerful truth–we need each other. And we must care for one another. Today, we do more than celebrate America; we rededicate ourselves to the idea of America.”
President Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address concludes as do I:
“The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”