Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wonderful WASPs!

I love the Women in Military Service to America Memorial! It's in a beautiful location at the ceremonial entrance to Arlington National Cemetery. The Memorial houses a number of collections dedicated to Women who have served in the armed forces, including a computerized register of women veterans. The Memorial has hosted a number of very important exhibits, and they have just opened a great one!

On November 14th, the Memorial opened a traveling exhibit called "Fly Girls of World War II." The exhibit is dedicated to telling the story of the Women's Airforce Service Pilots or WASPS. The WASP program lasted two years, from 1942 to 1944, and allowed women to train to become pilots and allowed them to fly. They test-flew bombers and ferried airplanes to the war zone. Unfortunately, the program was disbanded after only two years, because Congress wouldn't grant the WASPs military status; they were considered civil service employees until 1977 when they were finally recognized as military veterans. An article on the exhibit opening published in Family Security Matters, quotes one WASP as saying,

“We think it’s marvelous that people remember what we did,” said Scotty Gough, 86, who served with the WASP for only one year because she was one year too young when the program started. “I loved flying so much that if I had had the money, I would’ve paid the Air Force to let me fly.”

“For many, many years people knew nothing about us, and it’s important for generations to know what we did and what we were. We were the first ones to fly for the Army, and that’s why today’s women are flying jets and in the Air Force.”

As a woman Air Force veteran, and the mother of a woman Air Force pilot, I salute these brave women who paved the way for us. Without their contributions to their country, I would not have been able to have served. Without their example and dedication, my daughter would not have been able to fulfill her dream to fly. Thank you WASPs!

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