By Christina Mennella, Pentagram Staff WriterMarch 19, 2010
Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall held its Women's History Month observance at Spates Community Club Wednesday.
Those in attendance received a lesson in women's history from keynote speaker Judge Jeanine Pirro, a former U.S. district attorney, county court judge and a strong supporter of women's rights.
Staff Sgt. Martha Krabill, a vocalist for the United States Army Chorus, jump started the afternoon with a crowd stunning performance of the national anthem. Chap. (Capt.) Rebekah A. Montgomery gave the invocation, and Col. Carl R. Coffman, JBM-HH commander, offered the welcoming remarks.
Coffman thanked everyone for supporting the annual event while giving a brief overview of women's history. He detailed their history of service in the military, and noted how female military service continues to grow.
Coffman explained that a Joint Congressional Resolution established National Women's History Week in 1981, and Congress expanded the celebration in 1987, to include the entire month of March in order to recognize women's achievements on a national level.
"In our Armed Forces, for example, women have served since 1775 - beginning with the American Revolution and continuing throughout our current conflicts," Coffman said. "Today, men and women train together in basic training units and women serve in a multitude of officer and enlisted specialties. Currently women serve in 93 percent of all Army and Marine Corps occupational fields making a real difference every day."
Songstress 2nd Lt. Keisha Spaulding, from Headquarters 4th Battalion, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), then sang a soulful rendition of "Wind Beneath my Wings," made famous by Bette Midler. After the performance, featured guest Pirro began her presentation with light humor that boasted of women's achievements. Audience members laughed along. Pirro then pulled up a colorful slide show that detailed struggles and successes of women throughout history.
"I grew up telling people that I wanted to be a lawyer, and most people would say to me, 'Well don't you want to be a mommy''" Pirro said. "So, I grew up thinking the two were mutually exclusive. But, when I got to law school, and my kids will tell you, I learned about equal rights and equal justice. And, I learned that those two, are ever so far removed, from the reality of life for thousands of innocent helpless victims in crime. Many of them too young to even articulate the horrors that are put upon them."
When Pirro asked if she could try a homicide case she was told "Women can't go for the jugular - woman can't handle a homicide scene and forget about looking at an autopsy," she said. "I fought, and I became the first woman to prosecute murder cases in the history of my county."
In 1993, Pirro was elected as the first women district attorney of Westchester County, and was re-elected in 1997 and 2001. She has prosecuted murder, rape and domestic violence cases. Pirro is a leading advocate for victims of domestic violence and is recognized for enacting game changing laws. "First of all, I love Women's History Month and the opportunity to apply it to women in the military," Pirro said. "I am honored to be able to come and say thank you, to these strong women and men who support us every day. These servicemembers are my heroes, and I am so tickled to be here today."
The celebration concluded with refreshments where vegetable and fruit dishes, coffee and tea were served. Soldiers, civilians and Marines were also given the opportunity to approach Pirro for questions, conversation, autographs and pictures.