Pharos-Tribune

Online only

October 22, 2012

Military women celebrate memorial's 15th anniversary

WASHINGTON — In the past 15 years, military women have led air wings, commanded a carrier strike group and piloted attack helicopters and fighters — all jobs they couldn't get in earlier years.

About 14.6 percent of active-duty military personnel are women. It's a racially diverse force, and many current service members have never lived in a world where women were not recruited, promoted or deployed just as easily as men.

The Women in Military Service for America Memorial marked its 15th anniversary Saturday, and those who birthed and nurtured it looked with pride on the progress of their descendants and expressed satisfaction with the recognition that the memorial has brought.

"Having this memorial has made a tremendous difference in the lives of veterans and service members," said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Wilma L. Vaught, who has been the memorial's driving force for 28 years. "It means there's a place in the nation's capital that paid tribute to their service. . . . It's more than a memorial. It is an opportunity to tell the story of servicewomen individually and collectively."

It took 13 years of planning and construction, but "I always felt it was the right time, and if we didn't get it done then, it wouldn't get done," Vaught said in an interview.

The $21.5 million memorial, part of the main gateway to Arlington National Cemetery, draws about 150,000 visitors a year. The most difficult part was fundraising, and the $3 million for annual operating costs is still a struggle to raise, Vaught said.

But a sunny Saturday afternoon was not the time to talk money, with the folding chairs full of retired officers and the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps playing patriotic tunes. The day was about stories of overcoming barriers and the rewards of military life.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Online only
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Does Indiana need a statewide water management plan and an administrator to implement it?

Yes
No
Unsure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream Raw: Woman Escorted From Ferguson Protests California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Holder Hopes to Bring Calm to Ferguson Today in History August 21 Holder Pledges Top Investigators for Ferguson US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Manfred, Torre and MLB Take Ice Bucket Challenge Bank of America Reaches Record $17B Settlement Holder Reassures Ferguson Community With Visit GlobalPost CEO Remembers Foley As a Brave Man Seth Meyers Rolls Out Emmy Red Carpet Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.