Women served too: Memorial to female vets marks anniversary

Saturday, 21 October 2017, 10:24:50 AM. Right next to Arlington National Cemetery, which draws about 4 million visitors a year, is a national memorial to military women.

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — Right next to Arlington National Cemetery, which draws about 4 million visitors a year, is a national memorial to military women.

It draws about 200,000 visitors a year.

The 33,000 square-foot (3,066 square-meter) memorial, known formally as the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this weekend with a series of events.

Among those attending events this weekend is Rosemary Bryant Mariner, 64, a retired Navy captain who was one of the first women to earn her wings as a naval aviator in 1974. She’s now a resident scholar at the Center for the Study of War and Society at the University of Tennessee.

When she was breaking barriers, she said, feminism was in force and “we thought the doors were going to swing wide open.” Instead, progress has come only in fits and starts.

Not until 2016 did then-defense Secretary Ashton Carter remove all restrictions on women’s service in the military, making women eligible for all positions in all branches, including combat and special operations forces.

Asked about her thoughts on another potential milestone - a first female Navy SEAL - Mariner said it should be based on an individual’s ability and aptitude.

“If that person is qualified and wants to do that, I think it’s great,” she said. “We’ll get there.”

Roughly 3 million women have served in the U.S. military throughout its history, some going back to the Revolutionary War. A goal of the memorial is to have all 3 million included its official register, a database that includes facts about all of the individual women and their service.

“The database is truly our treasure. It’s the heart of our memorial,” said the memorial foundation’s spokeswoman, Marilla Cushman, who retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel after a 25-year military career.

So far, though, only about 269,000 women are registered. Women can register themselves through a form on the memorial’s website. Family members can also register a woman. The registry is not online out of privacy concerns; visitors must come to the memorial to view it.

Cushman encouraged all female veterans to register. She said family members light up when they enter the memorial and retrieve information about their loved ones. Conversely, visitors are disappointed when they look up a family member only to find they aren’t included.

“It’s their opportunity to take their rightful place in history, and it will be there for generations to come,” she said.

Though the memorial is located next to the cemetery, and its Classical Revival architecture makes it blend seamlessly with the cemetery, it is not part of the cemetery. It is actually part of the National Park Service. The Park Service is responsible for maintaining the exterior of the memorial, but a nonprofit foundation is responsible for funding day-to-day operations, including the exhibits in the education center and the registry.

Cushman said the foundation has “financial challenges, like all nonprofits.”

Some supporters of the memorial say the challenge is even more stark, and that the memorial, without public funding, faces a real risk of ceasing operations.

A fundraising campaign launched late last year by a group called AcademyWomen on fundrazr.com has so far raised more than $110,000. The goal is $1.5 million.

Katherine Sharp Landdeck, an associate professor of history at Texas Woman’s University who has researched women’s military history, said the memorial fills a valuable role.

“The story of women serving in the American military gets forgotten,” she said. “The memorial is a gathering place where people can see what these women have done.”

HIDE COMMENTS

blog comments powered by Disqus

Click to Read More

Click to Hide

Top Stories

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with President Obama in Hangzhou, China, on Sept. 5, 2016 in this file photo. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Putin’s rage triggered by Obama’s moves

Carter Page is representing himself in a libel suit against Yahoo News and HuffPost. (Associated Press)

Ex-Trump aides use FBI, ethics, court complaints to counter Russia collusion allegations

obj.0.content_object.caption

Quiz: US Citizenship Test - Could You Pass?

In this Oct. 16, 2017, photo, President Donald Trump listens to a questions prior to speaking to members of the media in the Rose Garden of the White House. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Trump demands answers about discredited dossier, suggests FBI may have funded the report

AT&T plans to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion. (Associated Press)

Conservatives fear more left-leaning media with AT&T, Time Warner merger

obj.0.content_object.caption

Quiz: Test Your Civil War Knowledge

ADDS TRUMP'S RESPONSE TO REP. WILSON - In this Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, frame from video, Myeshia Johnson cries over the casket of her husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in an ambush in Niger, upon his body's arrival in Miami. President Donald Trump told the widow that her husband "knew what he signed up for," according to Rep. Frederica Wilson, who said she heard part of the conversation on speakerphone. In a Wednesday morning tweet, Trump said Wilson's description of the call was "fabricated." (WPLG via AP)

Political attack on Trump’s call to Green Beret’s widow ‘appalling,’ says White House

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell watches from the sidelines before an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers in Minneapolis, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

NFL’s Goodell says ‘everyone’ should stand for the national anthem

In this June 8, 2017 photo, former FBI director James Comey testifies before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Trump is again tweeting about the FBI's handling of the Hillary Clinton email server investigation. The latest burst came Wednesday morning in response to the FBI's release of a heavily blacked-out draft memo by then-Director James Comey in preparation of closing the investigation without criminal charges. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Push is on to disbar James Comey after Clinton scandal

In this Aug. 25, 2016, file photo, a a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis sits the grounds of the Alabama Capitol in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves, File)

Jefferson Davis school in Mississippi to be renamed after Barack Obama

ap090421032401_primary_image.jpg

Conservatives in Hollywood: Celebrities who lean right

President Donald Trump looks down at his podium during a news conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Trump backs off from bipartisan Obamacare deal

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, center, accompanied by long time aide Cheryl Mills, right, arrives at Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016. FBI Director James Comey tells Congress in a Nov. 6 letter, that a review of new Hillary Clinton emails has "not changed our conclusions" from earlier this year that she should not face charges. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Russia tables turn, roping Clinton, Obama, Holder, not Trump

converted 1911.jpg

21 best guns for home protection

James O'Keefe, founder of the conservative investigative group Project Veritas, released undercover video of Nicholas Dudich, The New York Times' audience strategy editor, bragging about his ability to slant the news.(Associated Press/File)

The New York Times’ social media policy only hides political bias, doesn’t eliminate it

The bearish market investor and editor of the "Gloom, Boom & Doom Report," Marc Faber, came under fire Tuesday after he reportedly made racially charged remarks in his latest newsletter, thanking God that the United States was colonized by white people. (CNBC)

Wall Street analyst Marc Faber: ‘Thank God white people populated America’

AP26539704575

Christians in Hollywood

President Trump still breaks the law and the "founding principles of this nation" with the latest version of his travel ban by singling out people by nationality, a federal judge in Hawaii said. (Associated Press/File)

Judge blocks Trump’s travel ban for third time

Newsletters

  •  Daily
  •  Weekly
  •  Pruden on Politics
  •  Charles Hurt

Find us on Facebook

Find us on Twitter

All site contents © Copyright 2017 The Washington Times, LLC|3600 New York Avenue NE | Washington, DC 20002 |202-636-3000
...Read more
Share this

You might also like

Similar