The Vietnam Women’s Memorial (photo) is a memorial dedicated to the women of the United States who served in the Vietnam War, most of whom were nurses. It serves as a reminder of the importance of women in the conflict. It depicts three uniformed women with a wounded soldier. It is part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and is located on National Mall in Washington D.C., a short distance south of The Wall, north of the Reflecting Pool.
Diane Carlson Evans, RN, a former Army nurse, founded the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project (now the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation) in 1984.The monument was designed by Glenna Goodacre and dedicated on November 11, 1993.
National Vietnam War Veterans Day is observed every year on March 29 and is a way to thank and honor our nation’s Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice.
Many people do not realize that there are Vietnam women veterans listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. These women served their country with honor during the conflict and they lost their lives because of this service. Women who are featured on the wall for their service during the Vietnam War include:
- 1st Lt. Sharon Ann Lane
- 2nd Lt. Pamela Dorothy Donovan
- Col. Annie Ruth Graham
- Mary Therese Klinker
- 2nd Lt. Carol Ann Elizabeth Drazba
- 2nd Lt. Elizabeth Ann Jones
- Eleanor Grace Alexander
- 1st Lt. Hedwig Diane Orlowski
How Many Vietnam Women Veterans are There?
The number of Vietnam women veterans is believed to be almost 7,500 but this number may not be entirely accurate. The draft was initiated on January 1, 1970. Women were excluded from having to register, yet many volunteered even though they did not have to. During the Vietnam War, many women were classified as volunteers.
Women in Combat during the Vietnam War
The Vietnam women veterans who served during this period in American history were not authorized to serve in combat, yet war has a way of blurring lines and boundaries. Most of these women braved some of the same dangers, situations, and environments as men did. While these female veterans were not classified as being in combat, they were often on or near the battlefield helping and tending to the wounded.
Women veterans served in field hospitals and were often close to or even on the front lines of the war, close to the fighting. Their service and sacrifices were often kept quiet or downplayed because they were women. Females suffered from PTSD, shell shock, and other mental health disorders the same way that men did. Many served in combat situations but were not recognized for doing so.
Sources: National Veterans Foundation, History.com and Wikipedia