A retired San Antonio Army officer is leading an effort to build a national monument in Washington DC to honor Gay and Lesbian military veterans, Newsradio 1200 WOAI's Michael Board reports.

  Lt. Col. (ret) Nancy Russell says the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

  "I really wasn't expecting people to be negative about it, and thankfully they have not," Russell said.
  The monument would be simple, costing only about a half million dollars.  It would consist of black granite pillars representing each of the military services, and an American flag.  The monument could include a place where the ashes of Gay and Lesbian veterans and their partners could be deposited.

  Russell says it is critical that the U.S. honor Gays and Lesbians who served honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces at a time when it was illegal to do so.

  "Some people feel like we should be a part of everybody, not singled out," she said.  "But that is denying our history."

  Gays have served proudly and honorably in the United States Armed Forces from before the creation of the country.  Baron Von Steuben, who was the first Inspector General of the U.S. Army and later Chief of Staff to Gen. George Washington, is believed to have emigrated to the new world from Germany to escape prosecution for homosexuality.