Dear Friends of the Women’s Memorial:
Greetings. When I wrote our annual Friends of the Memorial letter this time last year, we’d just made the decision to go ahead with the Memorial’s 20th anniversary celebration — thanks to the urging of many of you and in spite of our financial challenges. It was absolutely the right thing to do. Some five months later, nearly 1,000 women, from World War II to the present, made the trip to DC to celebrate the day America’s military women formally took their rightful and visible place in history and changed the face of monumental Washington for all time. It was, for many, a celebration of the long-over-due day the Nation officially and finally said, “Thanks.”
As I write our 2018 Friends of the Memorial letter and reflect on the activities and initiatives undertaken this past year, I’m first and foremost mindful of the faithful support and generosity of so many of you who have been wholly committed to our mission, the sustainment of the Memorial and the remarkable women it represents. None of it would have happened without you. As I’ve said before, it is your commitment and investment that has made the Women’s Memorial possible and it will be you—the Women’s Memorial “Friends”— who will assure there is a Women’s Memorial for future generations. Thank you for your steadfast support.
So, what has your support accomplished this past year? Most importantly, the doors of the Memorial remain open and some 3 million visitors to date have learned of military women’s contributions to our Nation’s defense. Secondly, elimination of the debt — a primary goal — is 75 per cent complete! We are working hard to be good stewards of your contributions, operating as austerely as possible while being a place of which you are proud to support. Also, since June of 2017, some 2,350 more women’s records of service have been registered with the Memorial, assuring them of their rightful and visible place in history for all time — so their service will not be forgotten. What’s more, social media has brought 26,733 Facebook followers and 1,910 more on Twitter. With the recent appointment of Women’s Memorial Ambassadors in almost every state, our outreach efforts have increased nearly 50-fold. These volunteer ambassadors represent the Memorial at state and local events and partner with other veteran organizations to help educate the public about women’s service to the Nation, as well as to identify and register eligible women’s service, past and present, with the Memorial. Ambassadors are still needed in Alabama, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina, Vermont, Washington DC and Puerto Rico. To partner with an Ambassador for an event in your state or to inquire about filling a state vacancy, please email email@example.com.
Also, at the Memorial during 2017, we welcomed more than 150,000 visitors as well as 63 Honor Flights; and hosted 41 promotions, 62 retirements, 6 reenlistments, 3 commissionings, 1 enlistment, 65 memorial receptions, 57 tours and 82 events, conferences and seminars with other agencies and groups; as well as presented major Memorial and Veterans Day events, 2 exhibit openings and 2 days of anniversary events — totaling nearly 390 separate events and activities held at the Memorial in 2017 — all largely possible thanks to your support and commitment to the Memorial.
I’m also grateful to report that in addition to some corporate and organization support; as well as various fundraisers, large and small; and online giving programs, the Foundation was awarded some federal funds specifically for the restoration and refurbishment of the building. Even so, 74 percent of our operational funding comes from you — the Memorial’s “Friends”. You are the critical element in everything the Memorial does — the virtual lifeline to its success. And, while there is a sliver of light at the end of the tunnel, we have a long way still to go before financial stability. So please continue to make the Women’s Memorial a priority in your giving plans. It’s important to American history, our military history and to women’s history. Preserving the legacy of America’s military women for our sons and daughters and future generations is in our hands.
In reflecting on a recent visit to the Memorial, Army National Guard Specialist Kaylah Jackson wrote, “It is the only place to come and reflect on what it means to be a woman warrior.” So, for Spec. Jackson and her 3 million fellow women warriors, past and present, I ask you to again invest in this national treasure—the only major national memorial to women’s service in the world. Please give whatever amount you can to assure that future generations of Americans will know that “women in uniform also guaranteed their freedom.” Every dollar makes a difference. Donations can be made online at https://womensmemorialstore.wufoo.com/forms/2018-friends-electronic-mailing-donation-form/ or mail to Dept. 560, Washington, DC 20042-0560.
Thank you, again, for being a committed “Friend” of the Women In Military Service For America Memorial.
Dee Ann McWilliams
Major General, USA, Retired
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