The Vietnam Women's Memorial in Washington, DC
Honoring those who served. Veterans Day
On the National Mall in Washington, DC, just north of the Reflecting Pool, is a sculpture honoring the women who served during the Vietnam War. The military efforts of women, less visible than those of men, are commemorated by the Vietnam Women's Memorial, featured today on Veterans Day. While Memorial Day honors those who died during military service, Veterans Day recognizes the service of all veterans, whether or not they served during a war. Veterans Day, a federal holiday, was originally known as Armistice Day and coincides with the anniversary of the end of World War I. For this reason, other countries also observe today as a holiday.
The Vietnam Women's Memorial was officially dedicated on Veterans Day in 1993. During the Vietnam War, 265,000 American women volunteered to serve. About 11,000 were stationed in Vietnam, most as nurses. Women were not allowed to serve in combat roles then as they are now. It took decades before their contributions were publicly acknowledged with the addition of this memorial. It depicts three uniformed women tending to a wounded soldier and reminds us of the roles women played during this and other wars, often behind the scenes, as nurses, physicians, air traffic controllers, translators, and intelligence officers.