Let’s honor those Women Veterans who came before

Welcome to the women veterans corner:

Women represent the fastest growing veterans group. There has never been one kind of woman veteran. Yes, they have been mothers, daughters and sisters, but they have also been leaders, teachers, doctors, and lawyers. Every aspect of the workplace has women veterans in it.

In April, VA celebrated women veterans month. This event celebrated the historical contributions of women in the military.

It starts with the American Revolution with women like Deborah Sampson. This name may seem familiar to you, especially if you’ve heard of the Deborah Sampson Act just introduced in Congress.

Deborah Sampson joined the Continental Army in 1782, disguised as a man. She served 17 months under the name of Robert Shirtliff and was documented as a wounded combat veteran. In 1783, she was honorably discharged and later became the first woman to ever receive a military pension.

Determined woman answered the call again in the Civil War. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker volunteered with the Union Army and was employed as a civilian surgeon. She frequently crossed enemy lines to treat wounded civilians and on April 10, 184, she was captured by Confederate forces. Dr. Walker was held as a prisoner of war at Castle Thunder in Richmond, Virginia until released in a prisoner exchange. Following the war, she received the Medal of Honor.

Cathay Williams was born into slavery and worked as a house slave in Missouri, when in 1861, she was captured by Union forces. Captured slaves were considered ‘contraband’ and some were forced into military support roles as cooks, seamstresses, laundresses, and nurses.

Williams served in a military support role during the Civil War under numerous commands. On November 15, 1866, she enlisted in the Army, posing as a man using the name of ‘William Cathay.’ After being discovered, Williams was discharged on October 14, 1868. She was the first African-American women to serve in the United States Army.

Although it was not their intention, these women are today viewed as heroes. Through their actions, they helped pave the way for others to follow and inspired women to reach farther, dream bigger.

Please join us as we celebrate these women veterans for the history they made and the trails they blazed for those who came after them.

This year is going to be a very busy year for the committee. We are already booking up venues. If anyone has any ideas for our committee, please let us know either by mail, text, email or call DAV State Headquarters at 920-338-8620.

Look forward to seeing you at the convention in June.

Respectfully submitted,
Sandy Pharis
Women Veterans Chair

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