FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Women of courage, strength and perseverance; what Women’s History Month 2011, whose theme “Our History is Our Strength,” is all about.
Soldiers and families of the Fort Bragg community recently celebrated Women’s History Month at an observance held in Womack Army Medical Center’s Weaver Auditorium March 24, hosted by soldiers of the 16th Military Police Brigade.
“Women in the military have made, and continue to make tremendous contributions and profound sacrifices,” said the event’s keynote speaker, Brig. Gen. Colleen McGuire.
McGuire holds the distinction of being the Army’s first female Provost Marshal General as well as the first female Commanding General of the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command.
The transition from the role women played in the Revolutionary War to today’s fighting force, McGuire went on to say, is the result of countless firsts.
Sgt. 1st Class Shenecqua Mouzon-Smith, the Equal Opportunity Advisor for the 16th Military Police Brigade, helped organize various events to honor Women’s History during March.
“It is important to recognize the achievements of women in all facets of life, science, community, government, arts, sports and medicine because it has a huge impact on the development of self-respect and new opportunities for girls and young women all over the world,” said Mouzon-Smith about the importance of Women’s History Month.
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter was the first to issue a Presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week.
"From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well,” said President Carter in his proclamation.
In 1987, March became National Women’s History month after various libraries, educators, museums and youth leaders petitioned Congress.
“The obstacles and barriers in your life can be overcome and must be viewed, perhaps, as opportunities,” said McGuire after speaking about various women like Mary Edwards Walker, the first and only female recipient of the Medal of Honor.
Those attending the observance were also treated to a poetry reading by Capt. Terri Bayne, the Commander of Charlie Company, Womack Army Medical Center, and a monologue of “You Don’t Live on My Street” performed by Rashell Carr.
“There are many women in history I admire but I feel the average everyday woman goes unnoticed,” said Mouzon-Smith about whom she admires most in Women’s History.
“It is that very reason that I would like to mention my grandmother the late Minnie Mckinley because it is through her courage and strength that I attribute with the woman I am today, a strong, confident, productive woman of society.”