Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Virginia kicks off Women Veterans Week

Two people hug
Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears (left) embraces one of the attendees of Monday's ceremony. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears kicked off Virginia Women Veterans Week on Monday at the Virginia War Memorial.

State officials say Virginia is home to more women veterans per capita than any other state in the country.

Earle-Sears, who is a Marine veteran herself, highlighted the impact of the more than 109,000 women veterans living in Virginia.

“We women, we don’t take a backseat to anybody, do we? No, we don’t. We take our place right up front,” Earle-Sears said. “We carry the future. We are the ones that birth the men and the women who defend our country”

A diverse crowd of more than 50 women veterans watched on as state officials and other guests honored their service to the nation.

Linda Bell-Sinclair, who served in the Air Force for 21 years, was among those attending. She says that it’s reassuring to have a lieutenant governor who’s seen what she’s seen.

“To have someone who knows what it’s like to be a veteran and to serve their country is really good to hear because we are often forgotten,” Bell-Sinclair said. “But we have skills that some people never have. And like she said today, you don’t try - either do it or you don’t.”

State lawmakers Sen. Jennifer Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach) and Del. Jackie Hope Glass (D-Norfolk), who both previously served in the military, recognized the women during the event. 

First Lt. Lindsey Otto, who currently serves in the army, was also in the audience. She says she’s grateful for the many sacrifices women in the military have made to improve opportunities for women who serve.

“Opportunities and events like this tells me that there’s still an audience looking for these stories and that they want to acknowledge and give honor and respect to women who have put in the work to make my reality what it is today,” Otto said.

Veterans attending the ceremony received a special Virginia Women Veterans Lead The Way lapel pin as appreciation for their service.