It's estimated that more than 14,000 American soldiers lost their jobs over the last 17 years because they were gay. Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach of Mountain Home Air Force Base was afraid that he would be next. Monday night, he appears on national television to cheer the end of the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
But this past weekend's Congressional action marks the beginning of the end of the formal intolerance.
There is still work to be done. The vote does not end the policy outright; that comes after the Obama administration certifies that it has prepared the armed services for the change, after a minimum of 60 days.
Fehrenbach will be the guest on Monday night's live edition of The Rachel Maddow Show, 7 p.m. on MSNBC. Fehrenbach will appear with three other gay service members before a live audience at New York City's 92nd Street YMCA. On Tuesday, Dec. 21, he'll be at special ceremony at the U.S. Capitol and he says he hopes to attend the White House signing ceremony.