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Memorial Will Preserve Women's Stories

By Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 13, 1998 – Five months ago, more than 30,000 people crowded the gateway to Arlington National Cemetery to witness the dedication of the Women in Military Service to America Memorial. When the memorial opened, Oct. 18, the stories of 300,000 military women were forever part of history in the computer register, the heart of the memorial.

Since then more than 10,000 women added their stories. But that's only a fraction of the almost 2 million women who have served the military.

Saving those stories, experiences and lives is the mission of the memorial. There are so many stories out there still, said Jennifer Finstein, a public relations coordinator with the memorial.

"Everybody knows some woman who served," Finstein said. "We're urging people to ask. If we don't start asking, we're going to lose that part of history."

Women currently serving and those who served in the past can add their stories to the memorial's computer register. For more information on registering, visit the WIMSA home page at www.wimsa.org or call (800) 222-2294.

In recognition of Women's History Month, the memorial has scheduled two seminars March 19 and 25. Author Linda Bird Franke discusses women in combat on March 19, and Sen. Olympia Snowe shares her insight into the legislative process. For reservations, call (703)533-1155.

The memorial is gearing up for spring and summer when more visitors are expected. It logs about 1,500 visitors a week now, but expects much higher numbers when the weather turns warmer.

"We're anticipating a large number of students," said Finstein. About 4.5 million people visit Arlington National Cemetery each year, many of them students.

The women's memorial is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through March 31. Beginning April 1, it will stay open until 7 p.m. through Sept. 30.

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Click photo for screen-resolution imagePersonal items belonging to Maj. Elizabeth Stearns include her Women's Army Corps identification card and the Legion of Merit she received for her "inspiring leadership." The memorial has received many donations of military items for display. More displays are planned to showcase items still in storage such as uniforms and other pieces of military history. Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik, USA  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageOne display spotlights the many faces of women in the military. The Women in Military Service to America Memorial chronicles women in the military from the American Revolution to present. Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik, USA  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageThe Women in Military Service to America Memorial is the gateway to Arlington National Cemetery. The memorial's design incorporates a reflecting pool in front of the gateway and four staircases leading up to a terrace and a panoramic view of Washington. Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik, USA  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageMore than 4.5 million people visit Arlington National Cemetery each year. The Women in Military Service to America Memorial expects more visitors as the weather warms. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until March 31. Beginning April 1, the memorial will stay open until 7 p.m. through Sept. 30. Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik, USA  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageAt the heart of the Women in Military Service to America Memorial is the computer register. The register holds the names, service records and photos of more than 300,000 military women. Twelve computers are available so visitors can view records of their friends and family. To register, visit the WIMSA home page at www.wimsa.org or call (800) 222-2294. Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik, USA  
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