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As Oregon celebrates the 74th anniversary of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, signed by President Harry S. Truman on June 12, 1948, we pay tribute to the rich legacy of diversity, courage, resiliency and perseverance of women veterans not only here in Oregon, but across the nation and all generations: many of whom paved the way for women veterans who continue to serve today, and for those who will serve tomorrow.
While the 1948 act established a permanent status for women in the U.S. armed services, for some women service members it wasn’t until the late 1970s that would finally gain their veteran status. Today, there is still more ground to break to ensure women veterans across every demographic and generation of military service have equatable access to the benefits and services they earned.
Oregon proudly recognizes that women veterans are the fastest-growing demographics of veterans across the nation, and we honor the approximately 28,000 women veterans who call Oregon home. Women currently make up approximately 10% of Oregon’s veteran population — and we anticipate the number to increase to more than 30,000 by 2029.
Today there are still many women veteran history lessons to be taught by those service members who paved the way for future generations of military service and our country’s military readiness. The first Women Veterans Day was celebrated on June 12, 2018, and Oregon is currently joined in state commemoration of this day by 13 others: California, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
Today, generations after the historic passing of this act, women veterans still encounter barriers accessing their earned veteran benefits with the same visibility, respect and accessibility as their male veteran counterparts. Anniversaries like Women Veterans Day not only remind us of the sacrifices and ongoing contributions of our women veterans, but also the historic work that has already been recognized, and our nation’s ongoing commitment to continue this work on behalf of all women veterans and their families.