The atmosphere at last night's Servicemembers United Don't Ask Don't Tell party in DC was completely different from the official presidential signing of the repeal legislation. While the latter was very formal and dignified with plenty of whos-its and so-and-sos galore, the midnight celebration was meant for the average working class soldier and supporters turned out in droves for the formal countdown.
The energy in the room was infectious; while people still seemed to be slightly tense until the day turned over, once the policy was officially dead the room was electrified. As I watched the soldiers around me suddenly grinning from ear to ear and dancing madly with each other, it hit me how much it must mean to finally be able to be honest about your life.
The service members' joy was palpable as they danced and sang along to Lady Gaga's "Edge of Glory" in a blur of camo, dogtags, and tears. DADT was finally dead. They were free of the lies and mandated hiding.
After the break is video of the final minute before Don't Ask Don't Tell was repealed and the start of the celebration.