When you think of military monuments, you probably think of the Marine Corps War Memorial, where male Marines raise the flag on Iwo Jima, or the haunted faces of male soldiers in the Korean War Veterans Memorial. But, where are the homages to the women who've bravely served their country? While there's no lack of tributes for servicemen, their female counterparts are finally getting a monumental thank you — the first since Arlington Cemetery's Women In Military Service For America memorial was dedicated in 1997.
Last week, the U.S. Army unveiled the first statue of a woman soldier commissioned and placed on a military base, just in time for Veteran's Day. The Lt. FAWMA statue, now on display in Fort Lee, VA, is named after the Friends of the Army Women’s Museum, and is meant to honor female veterans of recent conflicts (and the spirit of service that all female soldiers embody).
Dressed in modern combat gear and carrying an M4 rifle, Lt. FAWMA may only be 10-feet tall, but she's a giant reminder of how far servicewomen have come, as well as how much they've done for their country. During World War II, women were restricted to non-combat positions, such as secretaries and nurses, and those roles didn't expand until the 1980s, when changes to military policy meant that women were required to have extended basic combat training.
The bottom line? Women’s contributions to society are invaluable, and the military is no exception. And, as women’s roles in the armed services expand, their service and sacrifice should be celebrated. This Veteran’s Day, take a minute to think of and thank the female veterans who are breaking barriers and protecting us all. We salute you, ladies! (The Daily Beast)