Women veterans honored at War Memorial ceremony

  • Published
  • By Mike Vrabel |
  • Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

Women veterans from all military branches received pins recognizing their service during a Virginia Women Veterans Week event March 21, 2024, at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond, Virginia. Current and former members of the Virginia National Guard were among the women receiving pins.

Dozens of women veterans were honored with a “Virginia Woman Veterans Lead the Way” pin during the ceremony led by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears, who served in the United States Marine Corps. Retired Maj. Gen. Craig Crenshaw, the Virginia Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, Maj. Gen. James W. Ring, the Adjutant General of Virginia, and Chuck Zingler, the Virginia Department of Veterans Services commissioner, were also on hand to thank the women for their service. 

“I want to thank you all for coming,” said Youngkin. “You could be many places, and where you spend your time indicates where your heart will be. I look around this great hall, and I see hearts. Hearts that believe in America. Hearts that believe in the values we hold dear. Most importantly, I see hearts that put others before yourself. It is that heart of service that we are celebrating today.”

“As a woman veteran, I fully understand the unique challenges that our women veterans face when they transition to civilian life,” said Sears. “Our commonwealth is blessed to have the largest percentage of women veterans per population of any state. Each brings along the skills and talents learned during their military service to their new roles in our local communities. Our women veterans truly make a major difference in assuring that Virginia remains the number one state in America for all our citizens to live, work and, thrive. Today, we salute you.” 

Another woman veteran, Norfolk’s Del. Jackie Hope Glass, spoke to the large crowd of women veterans and service members about what it means to be a woman veteran in the legislature. 

“The unfortunate fact is that I stand here as the single woman veteran in the legislature, out of 140 people,” said Glass, a U.S. Navy veteran. “Let me say this - if they don’t see us, they don’t see us. I want to use this moment as an invitation. Doing this work and having a women veterans’ office is amazing, it’s brilliant. But we need to collectively continue to give our sisters an invitation. The easiest thing we can do for ourselves is become visible, to assimilate. We do not have to qualify our service, because it is what it is - it’s service.”

During the ceremony, Virginia Secretary of Transportation W. Sheppard “Shep” Miller III helped unveil a brand new Virginia license plate honoring Virginia’s more than 108,000 women veterans.

“It’s an honor to be here to honor our women veterans specifically today with a brand new plate for the Department of Motor Vehicles,” said Miller. “The Support Women Veterans license plate marks the next step in the DMV’s long-standing relationship with the commonwealth’s veterans. While we have many veteran license plates, the Support Women’s Veterans plate is the first to specifically honor our women veterans for contributing so much. I’m really honored to be a part of that.”

“By unveiling the new Support Women Veterans specialty license plates and declaring Virginia Women Veterans Week, we want our female veterans to know that Virginia values you,” said Youngkin. “I remain committed to making Virginia the best state in the nation for service members, veterans, and their families to live and work.” 

Crenshaw and Zingler also gave remarks during the ceremony, sharing stories about how they have been impacted by women veterans. 

“To see you here today, wearing the uniform proudly, really just warms my heart. Our nation is in good hands,” said Crenshaw. “When you take that uniform off, you become proud members within community, making a difference,  serving in a number of capacities as veterans. Thank you for your service.”

“I am proud that Virginia was one of the first states to recognize the unique challenges often faced by our women veterans and that our Virginia Department of Veterans Services established a variety of special programs and services specifically to meet their needs,” said Zingler. “During my military career, I had the privilege to serve with women in every branch. They have been and remain a major component of our military in protecting our nation. Let’s thank all of them who have served and continue to serve. I encourage all who support women veterans to attend.”

After remarks and the unveiling of the new license plate, all women service members and veterans in attendance received a “Virginia Woman Veterans Lead the Way” pin. 

The department of Veterans Services also hosted other events during Virginia Women Veterans Week, including virtual presentations by the Military Women’s Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, and the U.S. Army Women’s Museum at Fort Gregg-Adams, Virginia. 

Read more about the new license plate at https://ngpa.us/28983.