Women Veterans Proud to be Recognized in Denton

Texas House Bill 2698, Women Veterans Day, was initially filed on March 2, 2017 to the House of Representatives, and on May 4, 2017, the Senate read the bill for the first time.

HB 2698 was incorporated into Senate Bill 805, and on June 9, 2017, the bill was passed by Governor Greg Abbott, marking June 12 as Women Veterans Day.

On June 5, Mayor Chris Watts proclaimed that June 12 was going to be the day that honors women veterans. Members from the Women Veterans of America Chapter 48 were there to accept the proclamation.

Chapter 48 Sergeant at Arms Gina Smith, 52, served in the Marine Corps for 30 years (1985–2015) and held five jobs throughout her time with the Marines. From helping with aviation supplies to being a program manager, most of her time was spent in the Reserves.

Smith said she felt honored and delighted when she heard that there was going to be a proclamation for women veterans.

Seventy years ago, on June 12, 1948, women were officially allowed to serve in the military, and they are just now getting the recognition for their time serving.

“It was time for it to happen,” said Smith on the timing of the proclamation.

Diane Fraser, 65, served with the Air Force for about three years (1975–78) and had two jobs: she was one of the first five women to be a Combat Targeting Team Chief in Missile Maintenance, and she was also an instructor.

Fraser said that her mom was in the Women’s Air Corps during WWII and to be in the Air Force herself was “something that was truly an honorable thing to do.”

She said that she was overjoyed to hear about the proclamation, and only wishes her mom could experience it.

“This is a really good time,” Fraser said. “I’m glad they didn’t wait any longer.”

Smith said one way to help honor women veterans is to stop assuming that women aren’t veterans. “It’s about inclusion and integration,” Smith said about Women Veterans Day. “Female vets go through a lot of things.”

Both Smith and Fraser experienced being told that women didn’t belong in the force, something that many women have experienced and that they want people to understand.

Fraser said that in her time, men could say and do whatever they wanted with no consequences. “They didn’t want to hear that restrooms weren’t set up for women,” Fraser said about her time in the Air Force.

Both Smith and Fraser agreed that the military now has improved from what it was when they began serving.

Smith said that the proclamation encourages her to stand up and stand out. She has found that being part of the WVA has been comforting, and being around like-minded people is helpful now that she is part of civilian life.

There is still a long way to go for gender equality in the military. Smith said that men are still trying to push women away.

Fraser said that the proclamation helps women vets be proud and that people with no history of service were thrilled to see so many women vets at the event they held in honor of Women Veterans Day.

“If I could do it all again as a young female, I would,” Smith said.

Photo by Zendra Morales
Header image layout designed by Mateo Granados