Although it is the largest and most extensive undertaking for military women, WIMSA , the Women's Memorial at the gates of Arlington National Cemetery, is not the first monument to military women or to women who have aided the military in our country's time of war. Here are some of the other statues and memorials that honor those brave women who served their country in many ways over the years since our nation began.
On April 26 1777, the daughter of a New York militia officer, Sybil Ludington was with her family when an exhausted messenger reached the Ludington home with news of a British attack and burning of Danbury, Connecticut where munitions and supplies for the entire region were stored. Sybil leapt to her horse and galloped off to rally the surrounding patriots and call out the volunteer militia to repel the British raid. Racing through the dark night over more than 40 miles of unfamiliar roads, the 16-year-old girl spread the alarm to rouse the countryside against the attack. The statue, presented by the DAR, is in Carmel, New York.
Margaret Corbin: During the Revolutionary War battle of Fort Washington, 1776, Margaret Corbin manned her husbands cannon when he was killed, until she was wounded. Margaret Corbin was the first woman awarded a pension by Congress for her service and disability. She is buried in the U.S. Military Academy Cemetery at West Point. Some historians think that her deeds, not those of Mary Hays, began the legend of Molly Pitcher.
In 1778, two years after Margaret Corbin's heroic stand, Mary Ludwig Hays also kept her husband's cannon firing after he fell in the battle of Monmouth, near Freehold, N.J. Mary Hays (later McCauley), said to have been Molly Pitcher, is recognized both in N.J. and in Pennsylvania, where she lived after the war. This statue is adjacent to her grave site in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
New England Heroine
In Sharon Massachusetts a statue of Deborah Samson, who fought disguised as Robert Shirtliffe in the Continental Army, stands outside the Sharon library. Deborah served for three years and was awarded a pension for her military service.
In 1782 when hostile Indians were attacking Fort Henry, Ohio, the troops ran out of gunpowder. Young Elizabeth Zane volunteered to fetch a keg of powder known to be in her brother's house sixty yards outside the gates of the fort. She walked past the Indians unnoticed and got the powder. On her return trip she ran through hostile fire and reached the fort in safety with the gunpowder. This statue is in the town of Martin's Ferry, Ohio and was raised in 1903 by the school children of Martin's Ferry.
The Civil War may have been fought by men but women played a major part in everything from acting as patriots in disguise to battlefield nursing. In the State House in Boston, this monument honors those Massachusetts nurses who served so bravely during the Civil War.
Arlington National Cemetery
A monument to Jane Delano and all of the military nurses who died during World War One stands watch over the nurses section of Arlington National Cemetery. Jane Delano was the second superintendent of Army Nurse Corps.
MOLLY MARINE: Another first in America in the feminine statue department is Molly Marine. Molly proudly stands in her Marine uniform on the corner of Canal and Elks Place in New Orleans. The statue was dedicated in 1943 during World War II. This statue was the first of a female service woman in the United States. The model for the statue was Judy Mosgrove, who still resides in New Orleans. The statue is unique in that it is made of cement. It was war-time and that was the only material available. The legend on her pedestal tells the story of what she was all about, "FREE A MARINE TO FIGHT." In 1966, a group of ex-Marines financed a beauty treatment for Molly. She received a coating of bronze and a new marble pedestal.
One of the better known attractions of Rindge, New Hampshire is the "Cathedral of the Pines" with its "Altar of the Nations" and the Memorial Bell Tower. The Cathedral is shielded only by the towering pines, the background is a magnificent view of Mount Monadnock and the rock altar is built of stones from all of the United States. It was built in memory of Lt. Sanderson Sloane who died in combat in 1944. It is recognized by the U.S. Congress and dedicated for all American war dead. The Memorial Bell Tower is the first memorial for women who sacrificed their lives for our country.
First Lt Sharon Lane was killed by hostile fire in Viet Nam. On May 29, 1973 a statue to Sharon was dedicated in front of Aultman Hospital by the William F. Cody Garrison #50 of the Army/Navy Union. This statue was built with funds raised in the community, and is one of the first Vietnam memorials constructed in the United States. In March, 1986, Aultman Hospital opened the Sharon Lane Women's Center in its main lobby; two months later, on May 26, the Canton Chapter 199 of the Vietnam Veterans of America officially became the 'Sharon Lane Chapter #199'. There are two roads named for Sharon: one in Denver, CO; the other at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. On September 12, 1995, Fort Hood, Texas dedicated the Sharon Lane Volunteer Center. A permanent display in her honor can be seen at the Ohio Society of Military History in Massillon, Ohio.
The Combined Veterans Council of Berks County is the umbrella for all the veterans organizations in Berks County, PA. In 1995, the Combined Veterans Council resolved to sponsor the Berks County Tribute to Women Veterans project. The project is in two parts. The monument, dedicated on November 7, 1999, is the physical tribute. It honors past, present and future women veterans. The history project will collect information about the women of Berks County who have served in uniform and as civilians during wartime. The purpose is to educate the community about the participation and contributions the women of Berks County have made in defense of their country.
Phyllis Dolin of Wilton Iowa has donated a memorial to honor all women veterans of the U.S. It is in the Rock Island National Cemetery on Arsenal Island, Illinois. Each side of the stone obelisk is dedicated to various branches of the military. The side shown here reads "To Honor Women of the U.S. Air Force and Army."
Ellen May Tower was the first American woman to die on foreign soil in service of this country - in the Spanish American War - and the first woman from Michigan to be honored with a military funeral. She was buried on January 17, 1899 in Byron, Michigan. Later friends and organizations raised money to place this monument on her grave. On April 28, 1899 a post office was established near the Village of Onaway where Ellen's father lived. The local folks honored Ellen May Tower by naming the town and the post office "Tower" in remembrance of her.
New York State Women Veterans Memorial
A bronze sculpture symbolizing Liberty standing on the crown of England and breaking free from the bonds of colonization is the focal point of the New York State Women Veterans Memorial along Madison Avenue at the southern end of the Empire State Plaza in Albany.
The statue created by Glenmont artisan Hy Rosen does not represent a woman veteran, but rather is symbolic of the spirit, strength and commitment of women to defend our nation and its principles. The statue is garbed in a gown similar to that depicted on the Statue of Liberty, as well as that worn by the symbols of Justice and Liberty that are integral parts of New York's state seal and flag.
Images of women veterans from all eras of service are incorporated in two large bronze reliefs depicting the evolving history of women in military service during the past 200-plus years that will flank the statue.
The history of New York's women veterans is inscribed in text on bronze tablets, as follows:
*New York State women have proudly served in defense of our Nation since the Revolutionary War, despite their lack of military standing before the 1900s.
*They served in all major conflicts in ever increasing numbers, volunteering to preserve our freedom.
*They served in expanding positions of responsibility -- from laundress and cook to administrators, from medical and technical personnel to full combatants.
*New York State women contributed to establishing and maintaining our independence, preserving the Union, abolishing slavery, and advancing the cause of freedom and democracy around the world.
*In times of conflict, New York State women served the military as society permitted or as the situation demanded.
*The colonial revolutionary frontiers held little distinction between combatant and noncombatant.
*Women came forward to replace men as battlefield emergencies demanded and some even disguised their gender in order to serve. Others masked their identity risking their lives as couriers and intelligence agents.
*They served under hostile fire and were wounded or killed. Some were prisoners of war and others remained missing.
*Women of the New York State military forces have performed hazardous duties in civil disturbances and natural disasters.
*New York State women have earned the highest decorations for valor and service from our State and Nation.
*They have achieved the rank of General or Admiral in both State and Federal service.
*The value of their contributions has finally been recognized by their ever-increasing integration and opportunities in the Armed Forces.
*Congress bestowed veteran status on women who served in the military during past conflicts who had not been recognized at the time of their service.
*The highest honor for New York State women veterans has been to fulfill the ultimate obligation of citizenshipâthe willingness to make the supreme sacrifice.
And don't forget the Vietnam Women's Memorial Project found at the National Park Service: Vietnam
More Monuments to Military Women: Part Two - New Jersey and New Orleans
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