Subscribe
Attendees listen and take photos at Texas’s first Women Veterans Day celebration held on the steps of the Texas State Capitol on June 12, 2018. Around 200 people attending the ceremony.

Attendees listen and take photos at Texas’s first Women Veterans Day celebration held on the steps of the Texas State Capitol on June 12, 2018. Around 200 people attending the ceremony. (Rose L. Thayer/Stars and Stripes)

Attendees listen and take photos at Texas’s first Women Veterans Day celebration held on the steps of the Texas State Capitol on June 12, 2018. Around 200 people attending the ceremony.

Attendees listen and take photos at Texas’s first Women Veterans Day celebration held on the steps of the Texas State Capitol on June 12, 2018. Around 200 people attending the ceremony. (Rose L. Thayer/Stars and Stripes)

Anna Gatti, a Navy veteran of World War II, receives a plaque commemorating her as the honorary guest of Texas’s first Women Veterans Day event on the steps of the Texas State Capitol on June 12, 2018. On her left is Texas Veterans Commission Chairman Eliseo “Al” Cantu Jr., and on her right is Texas Veterans Commission Women Veterans Program Manager Anna Baker.

Anna Gatti, a Navy veteran of World War II, receives a plaque commemorating her as the honorary guest of Texas’s first Women Veterans Day event on the steps of the Texas State Capitol on June 12, 2018. On her left is Texas Veterans Commission Chairman Eliseo “Al” Cantu Jr., and on her right is Texas Veterans Commission Women Veterans Program Manager Anna Baker. (Rose L. Thayer/Stars and Stripes)

Women line up for photos with Rosieleeta Reed following Texas’s first Women Veterans Day celebration held on the steps of the Texas State Capitol on June 12, 2018. Reed presents a living history exhibition of the only female Buffalo Soldier, Cathay Williams.

Women line up for photos with Rosieleeta Reed following Texas’s first Women Veterans Day celebration held on the steps of the Texas State Capitol on June 12, 2018. Reed presents a living history exhibition of the only female Buffalo Soldier, Cathay Williams. (Rose L. Thayer/Stars and Stripes)

Staff Sgt. Heather Middlemas and Sgt. Kira Messenger, both of the Texas Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention unit, pose for a photo with Anna Gatti, a Navy veteran World War II, following Texas’s first Women Veterans Day celebration held on the steps of the Texas State Capitol on June 12, 2018. Gatti was recognized as the event’s honorary guest.

Staff Sgt. Heather Middlemas and Sgt. Kira Messenger, both of the Texas Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention unit, pose for a photo with Anna Gatti, a Navy veteran World War II, following Texas’s first Women Veterans Day celebration held on the steps of the Texas State Capitol on June 12, 2018. Gatti was recognized as the event’s honorary guest. (Rose L. Thayer/Stars and Stripes)

AUSTIN, Texas — For the first time, some women veterans in Texas came together to honor their service, educate others about their history and raise awareness of resources available to women who served.

Texas has about 177,500 female veterans, the most of any state, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Women make up about 10 percent of the U.S. veteran population, but many of them do not identify themselves as veterans, largely due to the perception that veterans are men, said Anna Baker, the female veterans program manager with the Texas Veterans Commission. She said some statistics show as many as 70 percent of female veterans do not self-identify.

In 2017, state lawmakers enacted a law naming June 12 as Women Veterans Day to highlight their role in the military and commemorate their valor and sacrifice. The date marks the anniversary of President Harry Truman signing the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act of 1948 that allowed women to serve as permanent, regular members of the military.

Hiding from their service can cost women camaraderie, benefits and recognition. Tuesday's events, in part, were designed to help women veterans find resources.

author picture
Rose L. Thayer is based in Austin, Texas, and she has been covering the western region of the continental U.S. for Stars and Stripes since 2018. Before that she was a reporter for Killeen Daily Herald and a freelance journalist for publications including The Alcalde, Texas Highways and the Austin American-Statesman. She is the spouse of an Army veteran and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism. Her awards include a 2021 Society of Professional Journalists Washington Dateline Award and an Honorable Mention from the Military Reporters and Editors Association for her coverage of crime at Fort Hood.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up