Military Resources: Women In The Military
- This article from the Fall 2002 issue of Prologue discusses Catholic nuns that served as nurses in the Spanish American War.
- Nathaniel Patch discusses female recruits in the U.S. Navy during World War I in this Prologue article.
- This article from Prologue tells the story of Elizabeth A. Richardson, who supported the troops during World War II in England and France.
- Emily J. Teipe’s Prologue article discusses separating the myth of the heroine of the Revolutionary War from the reality.
- Part One of a Prologue article by DeAnne Blanton.
- A NARA online exhibit commemorating the women who served in the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron .
Women In Military Service For America Memorial
|Women in Military Service for America Memorial|
|Location on a map of Washington, D.C.|
|Added to NRHP|
The Women In Military Service For America Memorial, also known as Military Women’s Memorial, is a memorial established by the U.S. federal government which honors women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. The memorial is located at the western end of Memorial Avenue at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, in the United States. The structure in which the memorial is housed was originally known as the Hemicycle, and built in 1932 to be a ceremonial entrance to the cemetery. It never served this purpose, and was in disrepair by 1986. Congress approved the memorial in 1985, and the Hemicycle approved as the site for the memorial in 1988. An open design competition was won by New York City architects . Their original design was leaked to the public, and caused significant controversy. Two years of fund-raising and design revision followed. A revised preliminary design was approved in July 1992, and the final design in March 1995. Ground was broken for the memorial in June 1995, and the structure was dedicated on October 18, 1997.
Give Back To Veterans This March
Many women throughout history have heroically fought and served alongside men in every American conflict. Visiting one of these memorials is a great way to honor the accomplishments of women during Women’s History Month. You can also read more about how women have made a difference and changed military history in our blog.
One of the best ways to make a difference this month is to donate your car to Vehicles For Veterans. The proceeds from your car donation help fund important programs that help veterans have a better life. It’s easy to make a difference by donating your car. Just give us a call at 1-855-811-4838 or fill out an online car donation form to get started!
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You Can See An Interactive Register Of Servicewomen
Whether youre visiting to honor a service member you know, share their story with the next generation, or youre on a fact-finding mission, the interactive register of servicewomen is a must-see stop while at the memorial.
Here, you can pull up names and view information such as a persons rank, theaters served in, and her branch of service. You can also view memorabilia that might have been linked to the persons record you view. The register is an ongoing project, and new donations of memorabilia, photographs, and personal information of servicewomen get added to the database regularly.
How To Get Here
The Military Womens Memorial is accessible via Metrorail Blue Line. There is no access via Metrobus.
Plan your trip and learn more about traveling via Metro here.
Directions from the South
- Drive north on I-95. Near the Capital Beltway, I-95 will merge with I-495 & I-395
- Take I-395 North toward Washington, D.C.
- Take Exit 8-B to Route 27
- Stay in the left lane until reaching the traffic circle on the Virginia side of the Memorial Bridge
- Bear right in the left-hand lane around the traffic circle to Memorial Avenue.
*Note: From 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., the United States Park Police barricades the section of Memorial Circle that connects with the westbound lanes of Route 27, routing traffic across Memorial Bridge toward D.C. and the Lincoln Memorial. Crossing over Memorial Bridge, stay to the right and loop under and back up and over Memorial Bridge to enter the circle, Memorial Avenue and the entrances to Arlington National Cemetery and the Military Womens Memorial.
Directions from the North
Note: From 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. weekdays, the United States Park Police barricades the section of Memorial Circle that connects with the west bound lanes of Route 27, toward D.C. and the Lincoln Memorial. Crossing over Memorial Bridge, stay to the right and loop under and back up and over Memorial Bridge to enter the circle, Memorial Avenue and the entrances to Arlington National Cemetery and the Military Womens Memorial.
Directions from the West
For Non-HOV-2 Vehicles
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What Is The Mwm Register
Introducing the Heart of the Memorial
Our Register is a one-of-a-kind interactive database that records and preserves the names, service information, photographs and memorable experiences of each registered servicewoman. The Register records and preserves the history of the powerful women who have defended this countryboth past and present.
From the earliest days of the nation, women have been serving alongside men to gain and preserve liberty, but it was difficult to find them in our history books. There was no repository of womens service to the United States. That all changed in April 1987.
Not long after legislation authorized the Women In Military Service For America Memorial and ten years before the Memorial would open to the public in 1997, the Register was created. Servicewomen and women veterans were invited to make their military experiences visible by registering their service. By completing a simple form with their dates of service, branch of service, awards and decorations, at least one memorable experience, and a picture in uniform, women took their rightful and visible place in history for all time. For the first time in American history, there was a place to learn about the extraordinary servicewomen who defend or have defended our country.
If you know a servicewoman or woman veteran, please take advantage of the FREE registration to ensure HERstory joins hundreds of thousands of individual stories that make up our Register.
Revision Round And Selection Of Final Design
Selection of the final design occurred in November 1989. Campbell and one of the retired generals comprised the selection panel. The winning design, by Manfredi and Weiss, was unveiled on November 8, 1989. The winning design featured 10 triangular 39-foot high illuminated glass pyramids on top of the Hemicycle. The design was intended to represent the barriers women had to pass through in their military careers. It was illuminated because tall or high monuments were also illuminated at night. Behind the Hemicycle, underground, was the computer room and visitors’ center. It contained a 225-seat auditorium, a bank of computer terminals, and niches for displays. The visitors’ center was accessed by piercing the Hemicycle in four places and creating stairs that led inside. Transparent bridges criss-crossed the interior of the visitors’ center, allowing patrons to look down on the memorial. The Hemicycle itself would be refurbished by planting a new plaza of grass and adding small clusters of trees on either side. Judging panel chair Robert Campbell said the design was “extraordinarily rich and provocative”. The Norton et al. design for a plaza of bronze trees was the alternate winner.
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You Can See 13 Permanent Exhibits
When you go, be sure to plan plenty of time to visit all the permanent exhibits. Thirteen of them cover the contribution of women in the armed forces, starting with the American Revolution. By spending time at each exhibit, youll gain a full history of women in the military from the perspective of the servicewomen themselves.
Serving with the Military: 18th and 19th Centuries
This first exhibit is a perfect place to start. Youll get to know about the working conditions and lives of women who served in the military from the American Revolution to the Spanish-American War.
World War I Medical
Youll see a full range of medical equipment, artifacts, and instruments used by women service members during World War I.
Serving in the Military: 1901 to 1945
This exhibit features stories about the servicewomen who served in the Army and Navy Nurse Corps from its creation through World War II.
Serving in the Military: Since 1946
If youre interested in modern-day women warriors, youll want to spend extra time at this exhibit. Here, youll learn about women who serve in groundbreaking roles, from aviators to astronauts.
Women Go to War: World War II, 1941 to 1945
Women who served in World War II have their own special exhibit, starting with Women Go to War. At this station, youll learn about the recruitment process, training, and jobs given to our military women during World War II.
Overseas with the Military: World War II, 1941 to 1945
A New Generation of Warriors
Approval Of The Memorial
In the early 1980s, women veterans began pressing for a memorial to women in the U.S. armed services. They won the formal support of the American Veterans Committee , a liberalveterans‘ group, in 1982.Representative, chair of the Subcommittee on Library and Memorials of the Committee on House Administration, introduced legislation to establish a memorial. However, Secretary of the InteriorDonald P. Hodel and the National Park Service both opposed the legislation, arguing that the existing Vietnam Women’s Memorial and the planned United States Navy Memorial already incorporated and honored women. Despite this opposition, the legislation passed the House of Representatives in November 1985. In March 1986, the Subcommittee on Public Lands of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee tabled identical legislation introduced by SenatorFrank Murkowski. Committee chair Malcolm Wallop was concerned that too many memorials and monuments were being placed on the National Mall, and wanted a statutory scheme that contained approval criteria enacted first. But United States Air ForceBrigadier GeneralWilma Vaught argued that a statue or monument was not enough what was needed was a memorial with exhibits about the contributions of women in the armed forces. Subsequently, in late 1985 the AVC established the Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation to raise funds and lobby Congress for a memorial.
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Description Of The Women In Military Service For America Memorial
The Women in Military Service for America Memorial is located on a 4.2 acres site at the entrance of Arlington National Cemetery . The main approach to the memorial is from Memorial Avenue. The visitor first encounters the Hemicycle, a ceremonial gateway to Arlington National Cemetery constructed in 1932. The Hemicycle is 30 feet high and 226 feet in diameter. In the center of the Hemicycle is an apse 20 feet across and 30 feet high. The Great Seal of the United States is carved in granite in the center of the apse arch, while to the south is seal of the U.S. Department of the Army and to the north is the seal of the U.S. Department of the Navy. Six circular niches 3 feet 6 inches deep are distributed along the facade. These niches, and the apse, are inlaid with red granite from Texas. The rear wall of these niches is carved with either oak leaves or laurel leaves, symbols of bravery and victory.
Between these niches are rectangular doorways which pierce the wall of the Hemicycle and provide access to the stairways leading into the interior.
The stairs in the Hemicycle wall lead up into the interior of the memorial. Halfway up the stairs, the patron may pause and look down into the main gallery of the memorial. Continuing up the stairs leads the individual to the Hemicycle’s terrace.
On October 17, 2020, a bronze monument titled “The Pledge”, designed to honor “all women of the U.S. military”, was unveiled in the center of the memorial’s lobby.
Th Anniversary Celebration Weekend
A quarter century after the October 18, 1997 dedication of the Military Womens Memorial, the nation will come together once again to commemorate a milestone day for military women the 25th Anniversary of the Military Womens Memorial.
From October 1416, 2022, servicewomen, past and present, and supporters of the Memorial from across the country will gather in Washington, D.C. to celebrate.
We look forward to celebrating this momentous occasion with you!
Join fellow Servicemembers, past and present, at the 25th Anniversary Celebration kick-off luncheons at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in downtown Washington, DC. Guests will have the opportunity to meet and reminisce with old friends and new over an elegant lunch and take in remarks by senior officials.
A casual evening of fun and camaraderie, the get-together will offer plenty of opportunity for socializing with service pals, old and new. In addition to displays and representation from various veterans groups and national organizations, the evening will feature a variety of entertainment, food, and beverages.
25th Anniversary ceremony
The official 25th Anniversary program will include formal military honors, remarks by former and current military women representing each of the Services, senior Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs officials, and more. A highlight of the event will be the debut of a new anthem honoring military womenstay tuned for the name of the singer!
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Description Of The Hemicycle
The Hemicycle is a Neoclassical semicircle 30 feet high and 226 feet in diameter. As planned, it served as a retaining wall for the hill behind it. In the center is an apse 20 feet across and 30 feet high. In total, the Hemicycle covers 4.2 acres . The walls ranged from 3 feet 6 inches thick at the base to 2 feet 6 inches at the top. The accent panels and coffers in the apse were inlaid with red granite from Texas. The Great Seal of the United States was carved in granite in the center of the apse arch, while on either side were seals of the United States Department of the Army and the United States Department of the Navy . Along the facade of the Hemicycle were 10 false doors or niches which were intended to house sculptures, memorial reliefs, and other artworks . The outer, middle, and inner niche on each side was circular and 3 feet 6 inches deep, while the other two niches between them were 2 feet deep, rectangular, and had an oak leaf carved into the rear wall. All the niches were 9 feet wide and 19 feet high. The apse originally held a fountain, although by the 1990s it had not been used in many years. A circle of unkempt grass filled the central plaza embraced by the Hemicycle’s wings.
What People Are Saying
A stellar experience
Knowledgeable staff, and a powerful reminder of the contributions of women in the military. Ask a docent for a tour, the stories are amazing!
A must see when visiting Arlington
As a Veteran of the US Army, I am super impressed with this memorial. The exhibits are extensive and creative, and the building itself is just incredible. It is a testament to those of us who served and sacrificed.
Amazing place and my experience left me speechless.
The site is very well maintained. It provides a great visual for those that just dont know about us and it also provides a home for all of us that might have no where else to call home in the male-dominate environment..
What an amazing gem tucked into Arlington.
I literally walked into this by accident when we were exploring the area around Arlington. Do not miss this if you are taking time to reflect.
You Can Visit Nearly Any Day Of The Year
Except for Christmas, the memorial is open for visitors from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. nearly every day of the year.
Visiting this memorial is an excellent way to demonstrate your gratitude to the servicewomen who helped fight for America from its founding to today. Even if you dont know a servicewoman personally, visiting and learning about those who paid the ultimate price is a way to show respect and honor and do more than simply say thank you for your service.
Its Located At Arlington National Cemetery
If youve ever seen military funerals take place at Arlington National Cemetery, you probably passed right by the Womens Memorial and didnt even know it.
The memorial sits right at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery and encompasses an area of 4.2 acres in size. It showcases a Hemicycle wall and reflecting pool. Directly behind the hemicycle is an education center for visitors to enjoy. The center contains a Hall of Honor, theater, an exhibit gallery, and the Register a computer database of servicewomen, including their stories, pictures, memorabilia, and artifacts. An upper terrace contains glass panes with quotes about and by servicewomen that shine into the education center.
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Military Womens Memorial Celebrates 25th Anniversary
She began her career as an enlisted member and rose to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 5. Youd think shed stop there, but her legacy of empowering service women and cheering them on was just a chapter in her book. You see, Phyllis J. Wilson, President of the Military Womens Memorial in Washington D.C., believes that every female service woman has a story to tell. It just has to be recorded.