Women veterans, often in the background, take center stage

Published: May. 4, 2023 at 4:43 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - It’s not hard to find a veteran for this monthly series, but typically they tend to be men. There’s nothing wrong with that, but we often wonder where and why we rarely hear from female veterans.

We stumbled across a group that not only represents women well, but our entire military.

It’s not every day you walk into a room filled with veterans… who are women!

“Women had important jobs to do. From the beginning, even in World War II.”

Linda Evans would know. She joined the United States Air Force in 1974 and retired in ‘95, but she holds the current title as the first female commander for American Legion Post 16 in Lynchburg. On this day she is surrounded by other women heroes at the Empowering Female Veterans event.

“Marine Corps for three years and then I went into the Army because in the ‘60s they didn’t let women have children.”

This event is designed to connect female veterans and bring them together in one space to celebrate and encourage one another.

“When I got out of the service in 1991, I would not find a female veteran. In the community we do not even rub shoulders with one another, we don’t even know we’re there.”

It’s a unique event because even wives, widows, and military caregivers are welcome. Every branch of service is represented and no one’s afraid to let loose! But the room gets quiet for ROLL CALL.

“You know, women, veterans especially, kind of get pushed to the background. For example, a man can walk into a restaurant with their military baseball cap on and people will say, oh, where were you, what did you do. Let us buy your dinner. A woman can wear that cap and no one says nothing to them.”

Over 50 female veterans proudly say their name, rank, branch and years served in the military. So if there was ever a time a military woman was not heard, now is her chance.