Last month, a color guard of young women from Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership—the only all-female color guard in the world—led hundreds of women Veterans and their families and supporters, some in wheelchairs, across the Memorial Bridge from Arlington National Cemetery to the site of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial (WIMSA). They were celebrating the 15th anniversary of the memorial as well as the memory of all women who have died in service to our nation. These young leaders and future female Veterans, marching in sync with the drum roll, framed against the background of the lighted Lincoln Memorial, stoically and beautifully brought the memory of fallen women Veterans home to the Women’s Memorial—a place where their stories are told and honored.
Tributes like this, and events around Veterans Day, are more than a celebration of service; they’re a reminder that the bravest and strongest among us deserve our best efforts at serving them in return. Thousands of VA employees – many of them Veterans themselves – are working diligently to make VA services more accessible and of higher quality for women Veterans. Today, and every day, it is a charge we are honored to pursue.
This Veterans Day, we distributed digital images and posters to all VA facilities, encouraging them to recognize the women Veterans around them and thank them for their contributions. We’ve also posted an image on Facebook, which encourages visitors to “share” in support of women Veterans.
Dr. Patricia Hayes is the Chief Consultant for Women Veterans Health at VA.