Pennsylvania Women Veterans Celebrated at Capitol Ceremony to Kick Off Exhibit

Joined by fellow women veterans, Senator Tracy Pennycuick (R-24) hosted a Women Veterans Day ceremony at the state Capitol to kick off an exhibit celebrating Pennsylvania women who proudly served the commonwealth and nation.

A U.S. Army combat veteran, Pennycuick authored the legislation establishing June 12 as Women Veterans Day in Pennsylvania. This is the second year the day has been observed in the commonwealth.

It is an honor to celebrate the many women veterans that are here today and their courage to step up and serve their country when the job options were sometimes limited, in a male-dominated career field that certainly is not for the faint of heart,” said Pennycuick. “We pave the way for future generations to serve this great nation and give something back to a country that has given us so much.”

Among the veterans taking part in the ceremony were Brigadier General Maureen Weigl, Deputy Adjutant General of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, and Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity.

During the Revolutionary War, women served their country by following their husbands and performing the housekeeping of war, cooking, cleaning and tending to the wounded. During the Civil War, hundreds of women from the north and south contributed. Disguised as men, some would fight for years without their secret being revealed.

World War I saw 35,000 women serve as clerks, truck drivers, radio operators, telephone operators, translators and munition workers. In World War II, 350,000 women stepped up as nurses, cryptographers, military intelligence and parachute riggers. This century, more than 300,000 women served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It was not until 1948 that women were recognized as military members or veterans. Until then, only women nurses and secretaries received full veteran benefits. By 2040, it is estimated that women will make up 17% of the total veteran population.

In addition to the ceremony, a special exhibit was created to showcase profiles of women veterans, highlighting their military journeys and their lasting impact on their communities. An online exhibit was created as well, featuring the biographies of more than 130 women veterans from across Pennsylvania.