Finally, a Vietnam War women,s memorial

November 10, 1993|By Susan Reimer | Susan Reimer,Staff Writer

Diane Carlson Evans, a former Army nurse in Vietnam, looked at Frederick Hart's moving statue of three infantrymen that had been added to the Vietnam War Memorial and wondered, "Where are the women?"

The names of the eight women who had died in Vietnam were among the 58,000 inscribed in the wall. But 11,000 military women served in the 12-year-long war. Almost all were nurses or medical personnel. Their quick action saved the lives of many of the 350,000 wounded soldiers who passed through their units. And they were the last person seen by many of the soldiers who died.

Where was the tribute to their service?

"With the dedication of the wall and the addition of the statue of the three servicemen, I strongly believed that the families who lost loved ones in the war would want to know about the women who provided comfort and care for those who were suffering and dying," says Ms. Evans, who now lives in Minnesota with her husband and four children.

And so began a 10-year effort for Ms. Evans and the other members of the Vietnam Women's Memorial Project. It ends tomorrow with the dedication of a bronze statue by sculptor Glenna Goodacre of Santa Fe, N.M.

The statue shows three service women: one holding a dying soldier, one looking skyward for a helicopter and one kneeling, holding a helmet.

"The veterans' response has been very important to me," says Ms. Goodacre. "Many of them have been drawn to tears and can't speak.They're so anxious to have this sculpture installed and be remembered."

Thousands of women veterans and their friends and family are expected on the Mall when the ceremonies begin at 2 p.m tomorrow . They will gather there following the first-ever march to be led by military and civilian Vietnam-era women veterans. The march begins at 11 a.m. and will proceed down Constitution Avenue.

Tomorrow night at 7, a candlelight ceremony at the memorial will feature remembrances, prayers, poetry and music.

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