JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, VA.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of American women’s right to vote, Joint Base Langley-Eustis hosted a Women’s Equality Day observance Aug. 27, at Fort Eustis, Va.

Established by congressional proclamation in 1971, Women’s Equality Day is observed on Aug. 26 each year. The observance commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, which legally recognized women as equal citizens and gave them the right to vote.

This year’s theme, “Celebrating Women’s Right to Vote,” features a poster showing silhouettes of the 36 states that were required to ratify the amendment. Illinois, the first state to approve the amendment, is represented by the largest silhouette.

“Women’s Equality Day is being observed to highlight the right of citizens of the United States to vote and ensure that their right will not be denied on account of a person’s sex,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Thaddeus McCall, Women’s Equality Day Observance coordinator. “Women have contributed to society in amazing ways by breaking barriers in combat zones, politics, business and entertainment.”

During the invocation, Maj. Jeffrey Ellis, Fort Eustis Regimental Memorial Chapel family life chaplain, gave thanks for the women throughout history who stepped forward to claim their position in society.

“Too often our world has sought to silence or marginalize certain voices and lives,” said Ellis. “We pray that their example will inspire us and that those who follow us will find in us faithful examples.”

To help the audience understand the struggles leading up to passage of the 19th Amendment, the event featured a reading of the Woman Suffrage Movement historical timeline.

Serving as guest speaker was retired Chief Warrant Officer Five Georgene Dixon, who was the first active-duty female selected as the Army food advisor.

“Social change comes about because of the vast movement of many courageous people, both men and women, who refused to back down,” said Dixon. “Many people, men and women, are responsible for the changes to women’s rights that made our country stronger, greater and gave more meaning to the words – one nation undivided.”

Dixon discussed how the Woman Suffrage Movement began with a women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848, a movement that continued for the next 50 years under the leadership of women such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and many more women’s rights pioneers.

“Today we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment. It’s an interesting fact that the amendment does not use gender, per se,” said Dixon. “However, it states the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

For more information on Women’s Equality Day, visit www.deomi.org.

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