The Vietnam Women’s Memorial is a memorial dedicated to American women who served in the Vietnam War. It is part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial located on the National Mall in Washington D.C.
The memorial depicts three uniformed women caring for a wounded soldier sculpted in bronze. Most of the women that served in the military in the Vietnam War were nurses.
Sculptor Glenna Goodacre of Santa Fe designed the memorial, which was dedicated on November 11, 1993 after a 10-year effort. Landscape architect George Dickie also contributed to the memorial. The Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project created the memorial to honor the women that served and also honor the families who lost loved ones in the war.
Diane Carlson Evans, who served as a nurse in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, founded the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project in 1984. Evans served in the Army Nurse Corps in Vietnam from 1968-1969 and served a total of six years in the Army Nurse Corps.
From 1984 to 1993 Evans lobbied federal authorities for permission to build a memorial honoring the 11,000 military women who served in Vietnam and the 265,000 women who served around the world during the war. Along with thousands of volunteers and prominent veteran’s organizations including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans of America and others, Evans raised public support and funds for the memorial. It still took seven years of testimony before three federal commissions and two congressional bills for the Project to gain permission to build a memorial.
In 2002 the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project changed its name to the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation. The non-profit organization is located in Washington D.C. and Evans still serves as founder and president. She is an active participant in the veterans’ community and often speaks on the subject of women’s wartime experience.
The mission of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation is to promote, identify and educate the general public on the crucial role military and civilian women played in the Vietnam War. The foundation also promotes research for women veterans on the physiological, psychological and sociological repercussions of their service. The Foundation is supported by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and more than 40 other organizations.
Approximately 265,000 women served in the U.S. Armed Forces during the Vietnam War, with approximately 11,000 women serving in Vietnam during the country’s involvement. The women who served in Vietnam were mostly military nurses and medical specialists serving in military hospitals, combat zones and evacuation squads. Countless numbers of women also served through the Red Cross, Special Service and Civil Service.
Positions women served in Vietnam included support staff, in hospitals, on medical evacuation flights, with MASH units, information officers, clerical workers, women officers and enlisted women. Still others were air traffic controllers, communications specialists and intelligence officers.
The first American medical specialists arrived in Vietnam in the 1950s with three Army Nurse Corps nurses entering Saigon to train South Vietnamese nurses. Many women were decorated with medals and honors for their service.
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For more info, visit www.subs4soldiers.com/ Felicity Grant is a freelance writer in Atlanta.
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