During a promotion ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, a proud wife placed a star insignia on her spouse's uniformed shoulder — the official mark of an Army brigadier general.
With that simple gesture, Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith became the country's first openly gay general.
....On Friday, more than 70 people clustered inside an auditorium at Arlington's Women in Military Service for America Memorial.
Smith, then a colonel, strode in with her commanding officer at the stroke of 4 p.m. The audience sang the national anthem and a young boy led the Pledge of Allegiance.
The announcer presented Smith’s father. Then came an introduction: “Col. Smith's partner, Miss Tracey Hepner.”
The audience burst into applause.
Hepner and Smith could not be reached for comment. In an interview with Stars and Stripes, Smith said she understood the social significance of her promotion, even though she viewed that as secondary.
“All of those facts are irrelevant,” Smith was quoted as saying. “I don’t think I need to be focused on that. What is relevant is upholding Army values and the responsibility this carries.”