New Monument Honoring Servicewomen Unveiled

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“The Pledge” sculpted by Susan Bahary. Photo from The Women in Military Service for America Memorial Facebook.

Jerilyn Garrett, Staff Reporter

On Oct. 17, a new statue honoring all women in the military was unveiled at The Women’s Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. The life-size bronze monument, titled “The Pledge” and sculpted by Susan Bahary, features a woman in a full combat uniform locking eyes and bonding with a military service dog. This is the area’s first statue honoring all military women and is the first monument in the nation to honor female military dog handlers.

“The Pledge” was commissioned by the nonprofit U.S. War Dogs Association. According to the fundraiser website, Bahary is known worldwide for her service animal monuments and in 1994 she created the first official war dog memorial in the U.S., “Always Faithful.” Bahary is also the designer for the proposed National Service Animals Monument.

Located at the gateway to the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, the statue “honors the commitment of our brave servicewomen, in all the jobs they do,” according to Susan Bahary’s website. Bahary explains that there are very few U.S. monuments featuring women or honoring them for their service and that “the time has come.” Speaking further about the monument, “it represents their pledge of faithful allegiance to our country and to protect and defend our freedom,” Bahary says. 

A sketch of “The Pledge” by Susan Bahary. Photo from Bahary Studios’s website.

The monument shows a female military working dog handler “doing a very dangerous job, emphasizing the capabilities of women, attributed to only men not long ago” and “it further inspires all women to realize their own strength of character and capabilities,” according to Bahary’s website. “The Pledge” captures a private moment of respect, love and duty between the servicewoman and the dog.

The woman’s face and body posture is strong yet feminine, showing that the woman and the dog are both up for the job as much as their male counterparts are, according to Bahary’s website. “It’s emblematic of their strength, capabilities, courage and compassion,” Bahary says.

The base of the monument has an inscription that says that it honors “all women of the U.S. military, past, present and future.” The other side of the monument is inscribed with a quote from Anne Sosh Brehm, a first lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corps during World War II: “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.”

Remember to thank your local military men and women for their bravery and service! The unveiling of “The Pledge” was livestreamed on Facebook and can be viewed here.