"The Pledge" Women in Military Service for America Memorial
Backstory and Context
"The Pledge" was crafted by sculptor Susan Bahary after being commissioned by the U.S. War Dogs Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring working military dogs and their handlers. Bahary has received international acclaim for her sculptures which depict the deep emotional bonds held between service animals and their handlers. Prior to this statue, Bahary created the United States' first military working dogs memorial, titled "Always Faithful."
The monument serves not only as Arlington Nation Cemetery's first monument dedicated to all military servicewomen, but it is also the first monument in the United States to honor servicewomen who are military working dog handlers. The front side of the black marble base on which the bronze servicewoman and her military working dog states: "HONORING ALL WOMEN OF THE U.S. MILITARY - PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE", with a brief note at the bottom mentioning the monument was gifted by the U.S. War Dogs Association and sculpted by Susan Bahary. The back side of the monument features a quote from Anne Sosh Brehm, who served as an Army nurse during World War II. Her quote reads on the monument as follows: "Let the generations know that women in uniform also guaranteed their freedom. That our resolve was just as great as the brave men who stand among us. And with victory, our hearts were just as full and beat just as fast — that the tears fell just as hard for those we left behind."
"The Pledge" was unveiled in a closed ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic that was streamed on Facebook Live by The Women in Military Service for America Memorial. Following the private unveiling, the monument was placed at the front and center of The Women's Memorial lobby. When addressed about the placement of the monument, President of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation and retired chief warrant officer, Phyllis Wilson stated: "I don't want it to be hidden."
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Newman, Kalina. A New Monument to Military Women and Service Dogs Opens at Arlington National Cemetery, DCist. October 19th 2020. Accessed November 9th 2020. https://dcist.com/story/20/10/19/arlington-national-cemetery-the-pledge-women-military-service-america-memorial-susan-bahary/.
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