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NEWS | Sept. 5, 2019

Brooke Army Medical Center celebrates women’s right to vote

By Jason W. Edwards Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs

Staff and visitors at Brooke Army Medical Center celebrated women’s right to vote at the annual Women’s Equality Day observance Aug. 27.

The observance was held in celebration of the 19th Amendment, which was passed Aug. 18, 1920, and gave women in the U.S. the right to vote.

Brig. Gen. Wendy Harter, BAMC Commanding General, opened the ceremony.

“It’s hard to believe that until just 99 years ago, women were not permitted to participate in one of our most basic freedoms,” Harter said. “The right to be heard and make a difference was denied to roughly half of the American people.”

Harter went on to introduce the event’s guest speaker, Jean Aratingi of the League of Women Voters, San Antonio.

“The women’s suffrage movement started in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848 when Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott got a group of women together and they started talking at this convention to get women the right to vote,” Aratingi said. “They had a very long struggle because they had to rely on lectures, writing, traveling, meetings and lawsuits.

“Their opponents were men, wealthy corporations and almost all politicians,” Aratingi continued, illustrating the long and uphill battle from that first convention in 1848 until the 19th Amendment was finally ratified in 1920.

The ceremony closed with remarks by Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Oates, BAMC Command Sergeant Major.

“Without the 19th Amendment, there would not have been an Ann Dunwoody, the first Army female four-star general. Without the 19th Amendment, there would not be a Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson, the first woman commanding general of Army North,” Oates said. “Without the 19th Amendment, there would not be a Brig. Gen. Wendy Harter, the first woman commanding general at Brooke Army Medical Center.”

Oates went on to define inheritance as something that is given to others, while legacy is something you place in others, permanently transforming them and living on long after you die.

“The Women’s Suffrage Act afforded an opportunity for us to live through the inheritance and learn through women of legacy.”