Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Supporting the WASPs

"I salute you...We of the Army Air Force are proud of you.
We will never forget our debt to you."
General "Hap" Arnold, 7 Dec. 1944

I am constantly amazed as I read the list of who is/isn't supporting the bills (S614/HR2014) to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots of WWII. How could anyone not want to support this? Why wouldn't they have signed on during the first week? How could we, even for a moment, forget what the women of the "Greatest Generation" did for this country?

This morning I was both excited and disappointed to read that Senators from 47 states have signed on to support S614. I was excited because having the support of that many Senators makes it more likely the bill will pass when it comes up for the vote. I was disappointed because Kentucky (my home state) is one of three states (the others are SC and WY) not yet supporting the bill.

I decided to call the offices of Senator Jim Bunning and Senator Mitch McConnell again to urge their support. This time I introduced myself and gave my home town. It's amazing what a difference that made. I talked to them a bit about why I thought this was an important bill, that after blogging about the bill (and writing about it on Facebook) I was actually embarrassed that my own Senators were not supporting it. That seemed to get their attention. They asked for my name and address and said they would pass on my message.

I also called Congressman Chandler's (D-KY 6th) office and urged him to support HR2014. I am happy to say (as previously posted) my representative from IL, Congressman Jerry Costello, has already signed on as co-sponsor, as has my representative from VA, Congressman James Moran (D-VA 8th).

If you would like to see if your representatives have signed on to support this important legislation, you can see who has not yet signed on as co-sponsor by clicking on "Not Yet Yes" which will get you to a database provided by the Wings Across America website. On the website you can also see different ways of getting in touch with your representatives to urge their support. If you don't want to call, you can use e-mail or Twitter. The website also has a really nice flyer and several different post cards you can print out and mail (you can also find your representatives district office address). It's easy - everything is done for you, it just takes a few moments of your time.


  1. I've read this post a few times now and "Hap" Arnold's statement just hit me differently. The Army Air Force never did forget, but as it is no longer in existence, it may have become easier to forget the sacrifices made by so many who are now fading into the sunset of life and the pages of history. All the more reason to honor them in some lasting way. The medals are a nice gesture but coming so late in life, I fear they will not be prized or cherished and passed down through the generations the same as if they had been awarded let's say in 1950.

    I decided to look for a more public and permanent display of our country's gratitude and could only find this sad monument:

  2. OK, there is also:

    Sadder still!!!

  3. The WASP monument at the National Museum of the USAF in Dayton was created by a WASP, Dot Swain Lewis. There is another one in the Honor Court at USAFA.
    I actually got to meet Dot a couple years ago at a Women in Aviation International convention - maybe I can find the mother-in-law also wrote a book about her called "How High She Flies."
    You can read more about Dot at the following link:

  4. Trebord - in reference to your second comment, the WASP museum in Texas ( actually supposed to be pretty good. I'm hoping I'll get to see it someday.
    Just FYI, there is also a travelling exhibit about the WASPs, Flygirls of WWII, currently on display at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in DC ( I used to go to the WIMSA Memorial quite often as it is right by Arlington National Cemetary, but this exhibit opened after we moved.

  5. All well and good, but why not a monument in Washington DC? I know, it's a lot tougher "Hill" to climb on that one and would cost a lot more money.