AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy --
According to the National Archives Museum, most Americans consider the ability to vote fundamental to the enjoyment of full citizenship.
During the month of March, the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.
“Women’s History Month highlights the shift in cultures around the globe,” said Tech. Sgt. Ashley Goodman, 31st Force Support Squadron First Term Airman Center team leader. “It allows us time to reflect on what women have both achieved and overcome throughout our history.”
There have been many achievements for women throughout the last century, but in 2020, the U.S. is celebrating 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
Passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibited the states from denying the vote on the basis of sex, dramatically expanding American democracy.
This victory took decades of struggle, agitation and protest. American women were long denied the right to vote, but since gaining that right, they have succeeded in making their mark in the history books.
“Women’s History Month means a lot to me,” said Airman 1st Class Katie Rivera, 606th Air Control Squadron airfield and weather systems technician. “I was able to join the Air Force, I’m able to wake up every day and put this uniform on and go to work. It’s the imprint that strong, powerful, and determined women left for newer generations to grow from and add to.”
The first Women’s Air Force recruit was Sgt. Esther Blake, who enlisted on July 8, 1948, in the first minute of the first day that regular Air Force duty was authorized for women.
The WAF program ended in 1976, when women were accepted into the USAF on an equal basis with men.
However Women’s History Month is celebrated, part of that celebration is to remember not only the successful milestones, but the steps and struggles that led to them.
“Every day, we come together in a dignified manner to pave the way for future generations,” Goodman said. “This month is a time for us to remember those before us and rekindle that spirit within us that stands up for equality, respect, and freedom.”