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TODAY: U.S. military members to participate in SDSU's annual rainbow flag raising ceremony

SAN DIEGO -- Members of the U.S. military will raise the rainbow flag today at San Diego State University's (SDSU) annual rainbow flag ceremony, beginning at 11:30 am. The event, which is a public campus celebration in recognition of diversity and inclusion, will kick off LGBT Pride week in San Diego.

In the aftermath of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," military personnel will participate for the first time in the event's five-year history.

The event will also include remarks from community leaders and campus officials, and the singing of the National Anthem by members of the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus.

"The intent of this event is to bring people together and educate individuals about the value of difference," said Aaron Bruce, SDSU’s chief diversity officer. "Diversity and inclusion are part of the core values of our university and this event supports the identities of our diverse students, faculty, staff, alumni, and their families."

The flag-raising ceremony is one of the many initiatives that take place throughout the year that demonstrate SDSU’s commitment to diversity and creating a welcoming campus climate.

“As we prepare students to be successful leaders in a diverse work force, it’s important that they have a good understanding of the LGBT community as well,” Bruce said.

Along with a number of other diversity initiatives and programs on the campus, Bruce hopes that once the new Aztec Student Union project is completed, a permanent "free expression pole" will be added to the campus.

“My expectation is with the establishment of a new student center in fall of 2013 a flag pole will be erected to accommodate similar inclusive flag-raising activities,” said Bruce.

Today's event is free and open to the public. Off-campus visitors can visit SDSU's website for more information, including directions and parking details.