By Nel Lampe, Fort Carson MoutnaineerAugust 30, 2010
FORT CARSON, Colo.-Ninety years ago women could not vote in the United States. That changed when the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified Aug. 18, 1920, when Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment proposed by Congress a year earlier. Eight days later, the 19th Amendment was adopted.
"On this 90th anniversary, we celebrate the few simple words that changed the political landscape of America and ultimately changed America," said Tami N. Gale, keynote speaker at the Women\'s Equality Day luncheon Aug. 23.
Gale, who is the Fort Carson Equal Employment Office manager, addressed a crowd of about 120 people gathered for Women's Equality Day in Wolf Dining Facility to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment.
The text from that amendment reads:
"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex," said Gale.
But the road leading to the ratification of the 19th Amendment was a long one.
"Elizabeth Cady Stanton and others first seriously presented women's right to vote in Seneca Falls, N.Y. on July 19, 1848," Gale said.
Susan B. Anthony was involved in the temperance movement, Gale said, but when Anthony met Stanton in 1851, they joined forces and worked together over the next half century working to ratify women's right to vote.
"Although both died before reaching that goal, they (Stanton and Anthony) did see major progress," Gale said.
Other women were advocates for women's rights throughout U.S. history, such as Carrie Chapman Catt, an early leader of the League of Women Voters.
"Being public advocates at the time meant they were living lives considered by many to be totally unconventional, unacceptable and inappropriate. They endured public humilation, terms in jail and daily ridicule. Yet they did not give up."
Women involved in the Suffrage Movement "were described as tireless, tenacious, devoted, determined, persistent, resilient, committed and courageous. They were visionaries, gifted organizers and sharp thinkers," said Gale.
She said it is fitting to recognize the roles of women today.
"Currently 13.5 percent of the active duty Army force are women; 28.7 percent of the Reserve force is women. It is estimated that 344,000 are currently serving in our armed forces, in every enlisted and officer rank, including as a four-star.
"On Fort Carson, they comprise about 59 percent of our civilian workers and about 48 percent of our leader and management posts," Gale said.
"We continue to break down barriers wherever our service takes us, both in peace and in war."
Our nation has come a long way since the groundbreaking convention in New York, Gale said.
"As President Obama noted in his proclamation for Women's Equality Day, women have occupied most significant positions in government. They have delivered justice from the bench of our highest court, fought for our country in foreign lands, discovered cures for diseases, and joined the ranks of the greatest business leaders of our time."
Gale concluded her remarks with a reminder of what the 19th Amendment is about.
"Remember, your right to vote is only effective if you use it. Register and vote this election season."
Brig. Gen. James Pasquarette, deputy commanding general for support, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, joined Gale at the podium to present her with a certificate.
"Our Soldiers now today are just Soldiers, not male and female Soldiers," he said.
The luncheon was organized by Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Hodges, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div. Equal Opportunity Office and Sgt. 1st Class Natasha Massacott, 2nd Battalion Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div. EO. Samantha Margelewski, a family member volunteer, served as master of ceremonies.