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Dedication Events for Women's Memorial Announced

By Master Sgt. Stephen Barrett, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 14, 1997 – Women in Military Service for America organizers announced the schedule of events leading to the Women's Memorial dedication at Arlington National Cemetery, Va.

The main event of the four-day celebration is the memorial's dedication, slated for noon, Oct. 18. The 18-month construction project honors the 1.8 million women who served and currently serve in the U.S. armed forces.

President and Mrs. Clinton were at groundbreaking ceremonies two years ago, and officials of Women in Military Service for America anticipate their participation at the dedication.

Dedication day festivities will conclude that evening with a candlelight march from the Lincoln Memorial to the Women's Memorial. Once at Arlington Cemetery, officials plan a memorial service, then will conclude dedication by officially lighting the memorial.

Events kick off Oct. 16 with a formal gala scheduled under tents at The Ellipse, a large oval park between the White House and the Washington Monument. The black-tie formal begins at 6:30 p.m. and includes dinner, music and entertainment. Tickets will cost $125.

The Women's Memorial Foundation will then sponsor a series of breakfast and luncheon buffets Oct. 17, starting with a volunteer field representative's breakfast at Arlington's Sheraton National Hotel. The 8:30 a.m. event is by invitation only.

Later, Women in Military Service for America will host separate 11:30 a.m. luncheons for the five services and service support organizations at sites in the Washington area not yet determined. Tickets to those luncheons are $25.

The day will end with a 4 p.m. women's military reunion at the District of Columbia National Guard Armory. The informal gathering costs $35 and will provide women veterans a chance to reunite with fellow service members and to view special events.

The association concludes its dedication activities with "A Time to Give Thanks" services at Arlington National Cemetery's Memorial Amphitheater. A wreath-laying ceremony at the cemetery's nurse's memorial follows the 8:30 a.m. service.

Although construction began with groundbreaking ceremonies in 1995, the $16 million project actually started 11 years ago. President Reagan signed the law authorizing construction -- an authorization that came with a $9.5 million federal grant for restoring the cemetery's 65-year-old entrance gate.

The memorial is 75 percent complete, and officials at Women in Military Service for America said they hope to see its construction completed by late summer. Remaining work includes placing of the marble interior walls and floors, finalizing room construction, renovating the gateway's exterior walls and landscaping.

Meanwhile, Women in Military Service for America officials are still looking to register all women who served in the military -- to include women now serving in active duty, Reserve and National Guard positions. Spokeswoman Jennifer Finstein said there are over 150,000 women registered in the group's data base, but they would like to see more of today's uniformed women enroll.

Those interested in attending any special dedication function, registering a service woman into the memorial's data base or donating to the organization can call 800-4-SALUTE (472-5883) or write to:

Women in Military Service for America
Department 560
Washington, DC 20042-0560

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageThe Women in the Military Service for America Memorial is nearing completion at the front gate of Arlington National Cemetery near Washington. Plans for its Oct. 18 dedication include a formal gala, reunions and a candlelight march. WIMSA image  
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