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Military Women's Memorial Still Growing

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

WASHINGTON, March 18, 1999 – The stories of nearly 300,000 servicewomen are preserved in computerized registry of the Women in Military Service to America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Though considerable, that number is a mere 15 percent of the 2 million women eligible for inclusion in the registry, the heart of the memorial. Officials of the Women in Military Service to America Memorial Foundation are trying to reach the remaining 85 percent so they can be included and help preserve the history of women in the military.

Women who served in any service branch can register themselves or be registered by a family member or friend by calling 1-800- 472-5883.

Since June 1998, the foundation opened several new exhibits at the memorial, said foundation spokeswoman Jennifer Finstein. The displays commemorate:

  • The 50th anniversary of the Women's Armed Services Integration Act, on display through 1999.
  • Native Americans, through 1999.
  • The Spanish-American War, through May.
  • Ethnic heritage months.
  • The Women's Memorial dedication, on display indefinitely.
  • The 25th anniversary of women in the service chaplains corps, on display indefinitely.

The foundation is preparing a new permanent exhibit on service women of the Korean War era, to debut in June 2000. Curators are looking for donations of Korean War artifacts such as uniforms, documents, letters home, newspaper and magazine articles, instruction manuals, recruitment and information brochures, and photographs. They're also collecting veterans' oral histories. For more information, call Judy Bellafaire at (703) 533-1155.

Weekly programs and seminars are scheduled at the memorial throughout March, Women's History Month. On March 23, the foundation is sponsoring an appearance by author-journalist Betty Friedan, who will talk about the feminist movement, the changing roles of women and the impact of military women on these phenomena.

On March 30, a leading behavioral specialist and DoD consultant will present a seminar titled "Meeting the Leadership Challenge of Equal Opportunity in the 21st Century." Call toll-free (800)- 222-2294 or (703) 533-1155 for more information or reservations.

Some major coming events include:

  • A May discussion program with Tom Brokaw, NBC news correspondent and author of "The Greatest Generation."
  • Memorial Day program.
  • One-man art exhibit with Antonio Perez Malero in June.
  • In June, the memorial will present the annual Margaret Chase Smith Leadership Award ceremony and program.
  • Women's health seminars beginning this summer.
  • Reshowing in July of the documentary "To Serve My Country, To Service My Race," the story of African-American women of World War II.
  • An Oct. 18 ceremony will mark the anniversary of the memorial dedication.
  • Veterans Day program.

The Women in Military Service to America Memorial Foundation Web site is www.womensmemorial.org.

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