Did you know that Texas is the first state to honor Women Veterans with a day? Well that day was June 12th, 2018. I was able to attend three events which brought women veterans together. The first event was Saturday June 9th, hosted by Lila Holley and the Camouflaged Sisters, LLC. The event was simply amazing! Seeing women veterans from all backgrounds and armed forces come together to celebrate those who served, but were not given the proper benefits as veterans was a memorable event indeed. Several veterans stated “This was a must have event“, and were grateful to Camouflaged Sisters, LLC. for hosting. There were several veteran-owned businesses on display and a panel where Killeen City Councilman Gregory Johnson sat and shared his concerns for women veterans as well. The next two events were hosted by Women’s Army Corps Veteran Association – a brunch on Monday, and picnic in the park Tuesday, which included a balloon release with a buffet to follow.
In 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed into law the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, allowing women to serve as permanent, regular members of the military. Before the passing of this bill, military women veterans were being discharged from the military with no benefits. We are truly grateful for the bill being passed in 1948, but June 9th, 2017, marked an even more memorable day, especially for the 178,000 women veterans in Texas. Dr. LaShondra Jones, along with five women, are the front-runners which now allow us to celebrate our lives, service, and experience as women veterans.
The research of Dr. LaShondra Jones, a Marine Corps veteran, enabled this bill to be passed, and on June 12th, Texas Women Veterans Day is celebrated. She served as the Policy Associate during the 84th Texas Legislative Session and continued to advocate during the 85th Legislative Session. Dr. Jones continued her diligent work, testifying about the importance of legislation for women veterans and incarcerated veterans post-combat. Her proudest moment is her advocacy work on House Bill 867, which created the Texas Women Veterans Program in addition to her advocacy efforts for Senate Bill 805, which created Women Veterans Day.