T ransgender A merican
V eterans A ssociation

I am sitting here with Monica beside me after returning from DC to my home in Raleigh, where I will be taking Monica later tonight to catch her flight from RDU to Atlanta.

It is hard to express the way we feel right now about the March to the Wall.  We all were thinking of you when the Sargent of the Guard announced in front of a large contingent of TAVA (50), PFLAG, AVER, NTAC, SLDN and various other GLBT Veterans groups in DC who gathered at the Tomb of the Unkown, that "This wreath is being presented by the Transgender American Veterans Association".  You can believe me when I say that there was not a dry eye in the house.  The four members of TAVA who advanced the wreath to the Tomb and all present could not hold back the tears of pride as they heard the word "Transgender" for the first time, on this most hallowed ground.

There will be many more reports about this weekend in the near future. I am sure that the vast majority of them will be overwhelming in their praise of this weekend and the events that occurred.

Both Monica and I want all of you to know that our thoughts throughout the day, were remembering all of you and how much we hoped that you could be with us.

From the police escort for the bus at the hotel by the DC police with sirens and lights on, all the way to the wall, and then from there to the Iwo Jima Memorial and on to the Wreath laying in Arlington, we were exactly on time, well coordinated, without mishap or aggravation to anyone and from many, surprise that we were there and thanks for our service and a big welcome home.  It was truly an incredible two days of intense emotion, pride and a constant rollercoaster of joy, love and unity among all of us veterans present and those who saw us.

This March established TAVA in the eyes of the rest of the GLBT community in general and the Transgender Community specifically as an official and unified group that will be asked to many tables to discuss veterans issues in the future.  We have truly become a "Force to be reckoned with and respected".

As noted, many will write about the last two days and what happened, but only the most eloquent among those who attended well be able to convey the true feelings that occurred and what it has meant to all of us.  It is well beyond my capability.

The first battle has been won.  Now onward, to win the war for our rights with far greater certainty than ever before.

Watch for the pictures and press releases that will be following on the TAVA site and thank all of you for your support and encouragement in making this a reality.  We have made some history for our community, now lets make that work for us in the tomorrows that come.

Angela Brightfeather
Monica Helms

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