SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) --It was a historic day Tuesday as the United States Navy announced plans to name one of its new ships after slain gay rights leader Harvey Milk. The former San Francisco Supervisor was killed in 1978, but earlier in his career he had served as a sailor.
A number of people made their way out to Treasure Island for the ceremony. Members of the LGBT community, elected officials and the family of Harvey Milk were all present.
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With the San Francisco skyline in the distance, Naval officials announced that a soon-to-be-built oiler will be named after former San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk.
"Even after death, his voice still spoke, his struggles continued, and his cause taken up by countless others," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.
The USNS Harvey Milk will be the first Naval ship named for a gay rights leader and is one of six fleet replenishment ships in its class, all will be named after those who fought for civil rights.
Harvey's nephew Stuart Milk was just 17 when his uncle was assassinated. "My uncle had the courage to go in with the hate mail and the death threats every day, because he dreamed and he saw this type of day, so I don't think he'd be surprised," said Sturat Milk of the Harvey Milk Foundation.
Earlier Tuesday, neighbors stopped by Milk's old apartment on Castro Street to pay their respects.
"The reason that I can feel comfortable now walking down the street with my boyfriend, is because of what he fought for, so, it's important to me, it's my safe place," said San Francisco resident Chris Eden.
Visitors from out of town came by to soak it all in.
"He was an incredibly brave person, and he died a martyr, really. He could've done so much more in life, but his life was cut short," said Bob Karzewinski, a Naval veteran.
Stuart Milk says naming a ship after his uncle will help show that the country is strengthened by its diversity.
"The world's largest and most powerful military can embrace everyone, then certainly the rest of the world can come along," Stuart Milk said.
Construction on the ship will begin in 2019. The ship is expected to go into service in the year 2021 on Treasure Island.
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