As we celebrated Women's Veteran's Day yesterday, it's important to take a moment to recognize the incredible strides and sacrifices made by women in the armed forces. Thanks to the Women's Armed Services Integration Act, female veterans have broken down barriers and served their country on equal footing with their male counterparts. Today, we enjoy the benefits of their courage, dedication, and sacrifice. However, we must also remember that the fight for equality is ongoing, and we must continue to support and uplift those who serve. As the number of women veterans continues to grow, it's crucial that we honor their contributions and support their transitions back into civilian life. So today, let us take a moment to thank the brave women who have served and commit ourselves to creating a brighter future for all veterans, regardless of gender.
I can not even imagine women's courage and dedication throughout history, such as Pvt. Cathay Williams enlisted under the name William Cathay in order to hide the fact that she was female. She held and maintained her secret until she contracted smallpox and was hospitalized due to the illness. The discovery caused her immediate discharge. Pvt Williams stated, "I wanted to make my own living and not be dependent on relations or friends". Another woman who displayed extraordinary courage was Col. Ruby Bradley, a U.S. Army Nurse Corps surgical nurse who was taken captive by Japanese forces during her time in the Philippines. During their captivity of 3 years, she and the other nurses being held captive continued service to other prisoners earning the nickname "angels in fatigues". These are two examples of many more who displayed bravery in their own way. I write all this to say how much I appreciate those who have gone before me, those who continue to serve today and will serve in the future. It is easy to take our freedoms and rights for granted as we may have lost sight of all the sacrifices that were made to grant these rights.