On September 20, 2011 -- exactly one year ago today -- "don't ask, don't tell" was repealed and gays, lesbians and bisexuals were finally allowed to join (or serve openly in) the military.
President Obama issued the following statement about the anniversary:
A year ago today, we upheld the fundamental American values of fairness and equality by finally and formally repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Gay and lesbian Americans now no longer need to hide who they love in order to serve the country they love. It is a testament to the professionalism of our men and women in uniform that this change was implemented in an orderly manner, preserving unit cohesion, recruitment, retention and military effectiveness. As Commander in Chief, I’ve seen that our national security has been strengthened because we are no longer denied the skills and talents of those patriotic Americans who happen to be gay or lesbian. The ability of service members to be open and honest about their families and the people they love honors the integrity of the individuals who serve, strengthens the institutions they serve, and is one of the many reasons why our military remains the finest in the world.
In the 12 months since the repeal, many memorable events have taken place from airman Randy Philips filming himself coming out to his father (the video immediately went viral on YouTube) to the first gay civil union on a military base.
Take a look at 25 of our favorite incredible -- and often historic -- moments from the past year and let us know your thoughts. Which stories moved you? Be sure to respond in our comments section below.
(Special thanks to OutServe and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network)