The Bexar County Commissioners Court proclaimed June 12 as Women Veterans Day, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the enactment of a law integrating women into the military.
The Women's Armed Services Integration Act, passed by Congress in 1948, allowed women to serve as permanent, regular members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. It also entitled them to veterans benefits. The Texas Legislature signed Senate Bill 805, which established June 12 as Texas Women Veterans Day, on June 9, 2017.
At a ceremony at the Bexar County Courthouse, commissioners Tommy Calvert, Nelson Wolff, and Paul Elizondo welcomed members of Women Veterans of San Antonio, a nonprofit that seeks to raise public awareness about the gender-specific issues female veterans face.
Commissioner Calvert read the proclamation.
“From improved access to gender specific healthcare, to preventing homelessness, and mental health, Women Veterans Day stands as a perfect opportunity to hold vital conversations about these issues...to educate the public about the service of women in the U.S. Armed Forces and to encourage women who served to self-identify as veterans,” he said.
WVSA President Robin Harder, a 20-year Army veteran, stepped forward to thank the court.
“We as women veterans are regularly forgotten about, discarded, and even invisible when it comes to our veteran status,” she said. “We all have our own stories about going to the Department of Veterans Affairs for care and being asked for our husband’s information instead of our own.
“When we go to stores and ask for that veterans’ discount, then the store clerk will say, ‘Oh it’s for veterans only.’ They don’t even consider that we too, as women, can serve our country.”
Harder said she appreciated that Texas was at the forefront of honoring women veterans and their service.
Communities across the state will celebrate Texas Women Veterans Day on June 12. A listing of events is available here.
According to the VA, Texas has the highest population of women veterans in the nation with 183,597 women veterans.
Additionally, in the 2016 Interim Report to the Texas Legislature, the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Military Installations reported that the number of women veterans in the state continues to increase.
Carson Frame can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @carson_frame