Troops march in San Diego gay parade
A man blows a kiss to Navy sailors marching in uniform during the gay pride parade Saturday, July 21, 2012, in San Diego. / AP Photo/Gregory Bull
(AP) SAN DIEGO - Some of the loudest cheers at San Diego's gay pride parade were for active-duty troops marching in military dress.
Saturday's celebration marks the first time U.S. service members are participating in a gay pride event while decked out in full uniform. Dozens of soldiers, sailors, and Marines marched alongside an old Army truck festooned with a "Freedom to Serve" banner and a rainbow flag. They were joined by dozens more military personnel marching in civilian clothes.
Spectators waved signs reading, "Thank you for your service."
Commander Kent Blade, who will retire this fall after 26 years in the Navy, said being able to march in uniform was a perfect culmination of his career.
The Defense Department said it was making the allowance for the San Diego parade because organizers had encouraged military personnel to march in their uniform and the event was getting national attention.
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