White House Applauds Activists’ Commitment To Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Thanks to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network for inviting ThinkProgress to report live from its Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Day Celebration.

At last night’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal celebration, White House Director of the Office of Personnel Management John Berry delivered official remarks on behalf of President Obama. After concluding the president’s statement, Berry added his own congratulations to the activists who helped achieve the policy’s demise:

BERRY: But also to each of you. Change doesn’t happen without energy, and each of you provided that energy. This victory — this victory would not have happened without Aubrey Service and the SLDN leadership. Aubrey, thank you, and thanks to all the groups and the organizations who fought for justice and liberty for all.

He concluded with a personal anecdote:

My dad was in the 1st Marine Division at Guadalcanal. And before he passed away at 86, he was talking to me one night about this issue, and he said, “You know, I don’t know what all this fuss about gays in the military is all about.” He says, “You know, back then, we didn’t call them ‘gays,’ but they were there and they served and died as bravely as anybody else.”

For those of you who are serving, thank you. For those of you who have served, thank you. For those of you who will serve, God bless you. God bless each of you for your service. God bless all who serve our country. God bless our President, and God bless the United States of America.

Watch the full remarks: