In October, women veterans of every branch of the armed forces and every era of service had tremendous reason to celebrate their legacy. The Women in Military Service for America Memorial marked its 15th anniversary of honoring women veterans, and hundreds poured in from around the country to help celebrate the dedication of this beautiful memorial to our servicewomen.
From the earliest days of women’s service in the military, their contributions have been invaluable. The same is true within our own organization, and as I watch our membership grow, I hope to see continued increases in the number of women veterans who choose to make DAV a part of their post-military lives.
Increasingly, DAV has moved in a direction that includes our women veterans and that can only bring great things to our community. We need to be ever expanding our focus to include the service and sacrifices of the women who have stood alongside our men-in-arms throughout the years.
So many women, especially those who served during World War II and the wars in Korea and Vietnam, have had their service go unrecognized for many years. Oftentimes they are not asked about their military service, but they are nonetheless a vital part of our nation’s history and a key part of the DAV mission for the future.
One of the biggest challenges we face in this arena is identifying women who may be eligible for membership. Too often, we look past them in the crowd and forget to ask women if they may be veterans of our armed forces. We should no longer be surprised to hear that a young mother of two is a Marine war veteran, that our neighbor served as an Army nurse in Vietnam or that the woman who sits next to us at worship services is a fighter pilot in the Air Force.
Today, the roles women fill have expanded to every corner of the military. This year has brought tremendous changes to the types of career fields and training programs that are open to our servicewomen. It is an exciting time for women, and it is an especially important time for DAV to welcome the brave women who have sacrificed so much for this nation.
Building a strong presence of our sisters-in-arms is one of the most important facets of our membership mission. DAV has always been out front on women veterans’ issues, and the huge influx of women currently filtering into the veterans’ community presents us the chance to bring untold experience, expertise and enthusiasm into our fold. If we show women veterans we are here for them, that they don’t have to go it alone, and that they have a home and a family with DAV, our mission to fulfill promises to veterans will only grow stronger.