home about media center archive history letters subscribe

Happy Birthday

Dr. Franklin Kameny

WWII Vet and Gay Pioneer

This week, Dr. Kameny triumphantly turns 82.

Last year, when we interviewed Dr. Kameny about his WWII combat experience, he told of the time shortly after the end of the war when he was traveling by train in England.  When he realized that he would be pausing in Newcastle, he picked up a few bits of coal (in those days trains ran on coal) and upon arriving at Newcastle, triumphantly tossed the lumps onto the track bed; all for the literal pleasure of being able to say that he had "carried coals to Newcastle."  (For those too young to get this, not to worry; you have to be of a certain age.)

In his lifetime Dr. Kameny has been able to enjoy many triumphs large and small.  At the AVER Convention in mid-April, he recounted that the Smithsonian Institute, in a grand and solemn ceremony, had recently received the historic early Gay Rights picket signs that he had kept in his attic all these decades.  He had the pleasure of saying that, when the signs were made on his living room floor in the early 60s, if someone had told them that the Smithsonian Institute would someday want them they would have laughed themselves silly.

This past week, The Advocate apologized to Dr. Kameny for having mistakenly reported his death.  How sweet it is for this man, who loves literal pleasures, to now be able to say, as Samuel Clemens had before him, "Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated."

The Military Equality Alliance community takes great joy and honor in wishing Dr. Kameny many more literal pleasures, laughs, and birthdays.

 Denny Meyer