By Wanda “Sistah Soldier” Petty, President & CEO, SHE VET, iNC
Most women serve in the armed forces and never become aware of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial (WIMSA) until years after separation. In 1932, the memorial’s (known as the Hemicycle) original intention was for use as a ceremonial entrance for the cemetery. However, due to the recession, it was unfinished and not utilized. Congress didn’t want taxpayers to be responsible for keeping it active. After two years of fundraising, the groundbreaking happened. In 1994 the building was completed. It took years, but a group of women was determined to pursue having it come to life. Since then, the Hemicycle has become a staple at the Arlington National Cemetery. Thousands of visitors walk through the halls annually admiring the memorabilia and adorn themselves with the education of women who served our country.
I recently interviewed Army Retired Major General Jan Edmunds, Chairman of WIMSA about the evolvement of the national museum. She stated, “Women need to know, the memorial is a “living” memorial, and serves as a reminder for all women who served our country. It’s not just for the armed forces, but those who volunteered with the Red Cross, and Peace Corps and several other organizations during all eras of war are welcome to register.”
The memorial functions in multiple capacities or occasions (i.e. events, such as book signings, retirements, receptions, and beyond). Reservations for events, and registering your service takes place in person and online. The mission of the museum is so important; there’s currently a campaign recruiting women from every state to become ambassadors to bring awareness of its purpose.
Why is registration necessary?
It’s the only national archive where women collectively are acknowledged for their service. Her service and legacy matters. Her lineage will be able to trace her history and dedication of service for generations to come. Otherwise, every woman who’s served commitment and dedicated efforts will vanish. What a beautiful message we send to other young girls who aspire to continue carrying the torch and fill the shoes of a legendary woman who served her country. Our story becomes a guideline for everyone to learn. If you’ve served, I encourage you to register and stake your claim of history, and the next time you’re in Washington, DC, stop by the memorial and see if you recognize any of your peers who stood for their legacy? Want to know more about making donations, register, or reserve the museum for an event? For more information, visit www.womensmemorial.org.
Sistah Soldier is an inspirational activist who helps veterans, women and minorities step into the call of God for their lives. She creates online courses and trainings to assist women transitioning in their careers. She’s the CEO, host, and executive producer of the SHE VET iNSPIRES.com Television Show, and the executive recruiter for SHE WORKS Digital . Learn more at sistahsoldier.com.
This article originally appeared in The Chicago Crusader.