EDINBURG –At its June 4 meeting, Commissioners Court adopted a proclamation declaring the observance of Women Veterans Day on Wednesday, June 12. More than 40 veterans from all branches of the military attended the court and were given a standing ovation by a grateful county.
"We're among some very accomplished women," said Assistant Veteran Service Officer Samuel Perez Jr., prior to the reading of the proclamation. "A lot of these women have deployed in the Gulf War, the Iraq War and the Afghan War; some of them with numerous deployments."
President Harry S. Truman signed into law the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, enabling women to serve as regular members of the military, in 1948, however women have served in support positions and spies since the Revolutionary War.
Among the dozens of women veterans present in support of the proclamation were four Hidalgo County employees: Dr. Marta Kang, United States Army, Director of Clinical Services at the Supervision and Corrections Department; Crystal Ortiz, United States Army, Legal Assistant in the District Attorney's Office; Norma Harlow, United States Navy, Senior Deputy Clerk at the County Clerk's Office; and JoAnna Oranday, United States Army, a Licensed Vocational Nurse at the Sheriff's Office.
"I think it's amazing that we are being honored today. I've learned a lot of different skills serving in the military that I still use today," said Ortiz. "One of those skills is imperative to my job with the county, and that is team work, which allows me to work well with others."
During World War I, more than 400 women were killed in action. In World War II approximately 400,000 women served in noncombat roles, including as mechanics, pilots, clerks, nurses, ambulance drivers, and field intelligence agents in the OSS, with 88 women taken prisoner of war and 16 killed in action.
The women received a standing ovation as Commissioners Court approved the proclamation. Each veteran also received a Women Veterans Challenge Coin provided by the Texas Veterans Commission and presented by each member of Commissioners Court.