by Whitney Conyers, YWCA Henderson House Program Manager
This month marks the 68th Anniversary of the signing of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, which was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman on June 12, 1948. Prior to the signing of this act, women had long served the armed forces and supported our military missions in many capacities, working exhausting hours abroad and at home during times of crisis to support our men, our country and our freedom – only to be expected to return to their previous roles as soon as wartime had ended.
Prior to 1948, it is important to note that women had served the military by risking their lives serving as nurses on the front lines, as pilots ferrying new planes to the armed forces, and occasionally fighting in combat disguised as men. Women served many other essential roles while men were in combat (as mechanics, technicians, air traffic-controllers, engineers, etc.); women were essentially the glue holding us together in our communities, overseas, and as a nation when our men were deployed. The signing of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act is significant because it honored women’s service and recognized their abilities by affording them permanent placements in the military along with full veterans benefits (including the Army, Navy, Marine Corp, and the Air Force).
This month, let’s pause and reflect on our veteran women, who have consistently fought for our country with heart, sweat, intellect, and strength. They have stabilized our country in times of crisis and sacrificed their lives for the care of those in combat and for our many freedoms.
At the Henderson House, we are proud to serve female veterans who have given so much to our country and yet now find themselves in a position of homelessness. The Henderson House provides female veterans experiencing homelessness with transitional housing, educational services, therapeutic services, and other supportive services needed to help them on their path to independence. Thank you to our female veterans for your bravery, your tenacity, and your many sacrifices; it is an honor to come alongside you on your journey toward housing, healing, wellness, and self-sufficiency.