Fort Bragg holds Women's History Month observance
March 30, 2012
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - In 1821, Emma Willard opened the first female seminary, which became the first institution to offer women an education equal to that offered to men. In 1945, the first class of women was admitted to Harvard Medical School and in 1976, West Point admitted its first female students.
Nearly 200 years later, women's history continues to make strides.
"(Yet,) the history of women is enriched when it can be recalled over and over again by our children and their grandchildren," said Col. Vinette E. Gordon, deputy commander for nursing and patient services, Womack Army Medical Center, who served as guest speaker at Fort Bragg's Women's History Month observance, Thursday, in Weaver Auditorium.
Recognized worldwide as Women's History Month, March is the time to spotlight the achievements of women and to recognize their contributions to all industries.
"My dedication and commitment to this command and to the Fort Bragg community is deep and humbling," Gordon told the standing-room only crowd who packed the auditorium for Thursday's observance.
Reiterating President Barack Obama's proclamation for Women's History Month 2012, Gordon said that March commemorates the struggles, celebrates centuries of progress and reaffirms a steadfast commitment to the rights, security and dignity of women in America and around the world.
"Women have made significant contributions to our nation, some quietly and some boldly," Gordon said. "They forged the path to make our country strong."
From teachers who are educating our future, to mothers raising children to be civil servants, women continue to shape history.
As a nurse, Gordon spoke of the women who are making a difference in Army medicine today -- from a major who, during her third deployment, deferred her own medical treatment to tend to the needs of wounded warriors, to Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, sworn in as the Army's first surgeon general in 2011.
Gordon challenged listeners to find their courageous vision and to carry on the work of the women who came before them.
It was a challenge that seemed appreciated.
"The message was good. You can tell she's (Gordon) a very passionate speaker," said Spc. Christopher Gray, of the 550th Aerial Support Medical Company. "It's good to learn about equal opportunity for women and how it has progressed from back then to today," Gray said.
The public celebration of women's history in America began in 1978 as Women's History Week in Sonoma County, Calif. By 1987, Congress had expanded the celebration to a month, and March was declared Women's History Month.
As women continue their contributions to military history, there are nearly 200,000 women on active duty in the U.S. armed forces, who constitute nearly 20 percent of the population.
According to Army statistics, women serve in 91 percent of all Army occupations and make up about 14 percent of the active Army.
For more on women's history in the Army, visit www.army.mil/women/