Women serving in the military took center stage during the Wisconsin Veterans Home’s annual Veterans Day service.
A standing-room-only crowd that included Sen. Ron Johnson, Rep. Reid Ribble and state Rep. Kevin Petersen filled the home’s Marden Center Friday, Nov. 11.
Petersen’s keynote addressed mentioned several women throughout the nation’s history that served in the military.
One of the first, Deborah Sampson, pretended to be a man during the Revolutionary War so she could join the Army. She eventually developed a fever and a doctor discovered she was actually a woman. President George Washington later gave her an honorable discharge.
Guest speaker Nancy Kaczor, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, said 1.8 million of the United States’ 23 million veterans are women. Wisconsin is home to 28,000 women veterans and a handful of them attended the King service.
“Did you know that fewer than 1 percent of all Americans volunteer to serve our nation?” she asked. “That makes you truly among our nation’s elite. Thank you all for your service.”
“While it still can be a challenge for a woman to compete in what is seemingly and traditionally a male-dominated organization like the military, it gets a bit better every day because of those women who served before us,” Kaczor said.
“It’s a huge honor,” Johnson said of the first King service he attended since being elected to the Senate last year.
“The best part of being a United States senator is the contact you have with current and former members or our military,” he said. “They just are our nation’s finest.”