U.S.

March 8, 2013

Arlington Museum showcases military women’s contributions

Tags:
by Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
women-museum
Donated World War II mementoes, uniforms and recruitment posters on display at the Women’s Memorial museum at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., Mar. 1, 2013. (DOD photo / Terri Moon Cronk)

ARLINGTON, Va. — A living legacy to women who served in all branches of the U.S. military honoring their service and sacrifice, was established inside the Women’s Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. The museum in the memorial depicts the “duty, honor and pride” of the more than two million women who served to defend the United States, from the beginning of the Revolutionary War through today’s war in Afghanistan.

Situated at the ceremonial entrance to Arlington National Cemetery, the $22 million memorial offers a grand welcome to the sacred military burial grounds with its neoclassical architecture.

Following 11 years of construction, the museum was dedicated on Oct.18, 1997, after the Women’s Memorial Foundation spearheaded the effort to educate the public and honor women who defended the nation during all eras and in all services.

The museum’s “living” exhibits depict the past, present and future of military women on active duty, in the Reserve, the National Guard and U.S. Public Health Service, in addition to the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Civil Air Patrol.

Additionally, the women who served in support of U.S. armed forces during wartime overseas in such organizations as the Red Cross, United Service Organizations, Special Services and the PHS Cadet Nurse Corps, have a place of honor in the museum.

The Women’s Memorial is the only national museum of its kind, according to The Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation Inc. website. Its staff collects, preserves, documents and analyzes the history of women’s military service by gathering official and personal records, oral histories, photographs and memorabilia for its exhibits.

“Although women have always volunteered in defense of our nation, many of their contributions have been forgotten and are not recorded in today’s history books,” the website notes.

A signature feature of the museum is the voluntary Register, a computerized database of information on about 3,500 former military and current active-duty women. Each entry shows the service woman’s picture, dates of service, awards received, key memories of her service and other statistics. The foundation registry also allows National Guard and Reserve servicewomen, Cadet Nurses and service organization employees who served overseas during a war to register.

The museum’s Hall of Honor pays tribute to fallen servicewomen in a somber room amid flags of U.S. states, territories and the military services. A small exhibit displays two books of female casualties while serving in the line of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

The hall also honors women who served with, “…particular sacrifice and achievement. Honored are those who were killed in action, died in the line of duty, were prisoners of war or were recipients of the nation’s highest awards for service and bravery,” a description reads. A marble Sister Block, taken from the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, stands formidably tall and wide, nearly ceiling-high in the room.

The glass-enclosed exhibits in the museum’s main section vary by era and among them are reminders of today’s wars; one depicting the War on Terror and another displaying service uniforms worn in Iraq and Afghanistan with the backdrop of a flag that reads, “We Remember 9/11.”

Exhibits entitled, Serving in the Military, from 1901 to 1945 and another Since 1946, comprise the work of early servicewomen. The exhibits include World War II dog tags, identification cards,  photos and service manuals entitled, If You Should be Captured, These are Your Rights and Survival on Land and Sea.

A citation for a Bronze Star medal, awarded to Della Polacek, reads, “In support of combat operations against the enemy in Manila, the Philippines,” for her service from April to July 1945.

Today, the “Greatest Generation” of World War II veterans are in their 80s and 90s and the museum offers a multitude of World War II-era artifacts from 1941 to 1945. The exhibits are entitled, Overseas in the Military, POWs Under Fire, and The War Ends.

A huge wall visual tribute, The Greatest Generation, displays life-like, hand-painted portraits, taken from old black and white photographs. Men also are depicted in this display — the only mention of male service members in the museum. The Forgotten War, exhibit covers women who served during the 1950-53 Korean War. The Era of Conflict — the Vietnam War, tells the story of Army, Navy and Air Force nurses who comprised 80 to 90 percent of U.S. military women in Vietnam working on the ground, at sea and on evacuation flights, from 1964 to 1973.

March 4, will mark the opening of Celebrating 40 Years of Women Chaplains: A Courageous Journey of Faith and Service. The Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation Inc. website says the exhibit, “tells the story of the scores of women, beginning in 1973, who answered God’s call to minister to the nation’s military members and their families in times of war and peace.”

Of all the meticulously planned exhibits and tributes, one extemporaneous display features a painting of Army Staff Sgt. Jessica Clements, who left the military on a medical retirement following a roadside-bomb explosion in Iraq. Her injuries resulted in severe traumatic brain injury, in which she had to learn to walk and talk again. Behind her painting is a large wall, filled with hundreds of notes to her, written by visitors.

Resident artist Chris Demarest said it started with a single drawing by a 6-year-old child. One week later, he said, the wall was filled with notes left by visitors, thanking Clements for her service. He calls it, The Wall of Thanks.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
breast-cancer-awareness

A story of survival and resilience

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — On April 16, 2007, I got a call no expecting mother would dream of receiving. “We got the results from your biopsy and it came back malignant.” Did the doctor just say I had cancer? I fi...
 
 

UltimateMe to help military families get healthier

The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (PCFSN) is working with the Sharecare team to support the launch of UltimateMe, a secure, personalized online wellness platform to help members of the military community assess, manage and improve their health and performance. The new platform expands the access to wellness programs and resources for service members and...
 
 
U. S. Air Force artwork

Hundreds in 452nd held as POWs in WWII

U. S. Air Force artwork Depiction of a crippled B-17 settled on the ground. (Tenth in an 11-part series that was first run in the Beacon in 2007) More than 750 men from the 452nd Bombardment Group were shot down in B-17 Flying ...
 

 
Nuke-Medal-graphic

Air Force releases criteria for new service medal

U.S. Air Force courtesy graphic WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Air Force officials released nomination criteria for the new Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal, following Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James’ May 2...
 
 
DoD

Obama activates reserves for Operation United Assistance

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — President Barack Obama has authorized the Defense Department to call up a small number of National Guard or reserve troops that possess special skills needed to aid efforts in stopping the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa. Obama issued an executive order yesterday authorizing the secretaries of Defense and...
 
 
Halloween-Safety

Halloween safety tips for 2014

Here are a few safety tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission can protect children who plan to go trick-or-treating this Halloween. Costume Designs: Purchase or make costumes that are light and bright enough to be...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin