This is the arch of swords, the longstanding funnysweet ritual that closes military weddings. This one, held at Fort Bragg, is a little different, though—in a lovely, historic way.
A one-star general and a top enlisted soldier were among the 100-plus attendees at this marriage ceremony Saturday for Major Daniel Toven and his same-sex partner Johnathan Taylor at Ft. Bragg's main chapel—the first such ceremony ever performed on one of the Army's largest bases.
The base is located in North Carolina, where gay marriage is still illegal, so the Episcopal ceremony was merely a blessing; the couple had officially married earlier in Washington, D.C.
Nevertheless, the mood was joyous as the married couple went through their arch of swords.
Toven commands a military band on the post; Taylor "works as a nurse at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center," according to the Fayetteville Observer. "Their first date was at Pierro's Italian Bistro in downtown Fayetteville."
In his role as a bandleader, Toven has a high profile, and he and Taylor say superior officers and peers on base had welcomed the couple at events without trouble long before the wedding.
"There was that moment when the angels were singing," Taylor said. "From then on, it's just been normal."