Ms. Veteran America - The Woman Beyond the Uniform - Part 2
By Ashleigh Bryant
Revealing Our Legacy of Service
For those who may still thumb their nose at the competition for being somewhat passé, the evening’s VIP lineup packed a pretty credible punch. The 16th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Carlton Kent, was one of the event’s special guests; VA Under Secretary of Benefits Allison Hickey served as a judge; and the first female double amputee from Afghanistan, Sue Downes, was a co-host.
For the past year, hundreds of potential contestants were auditioned before the list was pared down to the final 37 women veterans who would compete. Following the first round evening gown competition, judges selected the top 10 to compete for the crown in a demonstration of the women’s military knowledge, stage presence and talent selections.
Both Gordon and Hughes agreed that, on top of everything else the competition meant to them, it was a clear reminder of how far women have come in the military.
“I think back to the WASPs and the WAVs and the SPARs, those women from yesteryear, there will never be another group like those women,” said Gordon. “We made history here, and we will forever be connected, different service branches and different eras, but we all went through this together, and we’re the first group. So we have to set the bar high.”
A challenge, perhaps, to next year’s Ms. Veteran America hopefuls. But from the WAVs and WASPs to our first women fighter pilots, wartime nurses and doctors, submariners and combatants, history shows us that women will continue to meet and exceed those limits set before them.
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