This post comes from Gregg Moreland, one of HRC Portland’s Political Committee Co-Chairs.
On Tuesday, September 20, we observed the end of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Communities all over the country celebrated this historic achievement not only for the lesbian, gay, and bisexual soldiers on active duty, but also in remembrance of all who have served quietly before them. In Portland, Oregon, the local HRC Steering Committee joined with Veterans for Human Rights and the Q Center, our local LGBTQ resource center, for a day full of activities which were amusingly and appropriately named, “As American as Apple Pie: A Day of Celebration and Remembrance!”
The day began outside of Portland City Hall, where several city commissioners and veterans joined Mayor Sam Adams for a press conference that was covered by several local and syndicated media outlets. John Kim, a member of the HRC Portland Steering Committee, opened the occasion with a powerful performance of the National Anthem on trumpet. He was followed by several speakers, including military veterans, Sharon Murtagh and Beth Allen. They both shared personal stories of their military service, as well as very emotional accounts of their eventual discharges resulting from the laws banning openly lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans from military service, and both emphasized how meaningful repeal is to them.
Later that evening, over 100 people gathered at the Q Center for a grand party to celebrate the historic day. There were several media outlets present, including local community radio station KBOO, which broadcasted the event live, interviewing several veterans and local leaders who attended, including HRC cofounder and Director, Terry Bean.
And yes, there was plenty of apple pie to be enjoyed by all!