Washington, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a Senior Member of the Congressional Caucus on Women’s issues released the following statement today after participating in today’s Wreath Laying in honor of America’s fallen women:
“Today it was my privilege to join my colleagues from the Congressional Caucus on Women’s Issues in laying a wreath in honor and tribute to all of America’s fallen women. After we have placed the wreath, each member placed a single long-stemmed rose on the edge of the reflecting pool in personal tribute to these women. The petals from these roses will be used in the Women’s Memorial 15th annual Memorial Day ceremony on May 28.
“Since the Memorial’s dedication in 1997, rose petals have been placed in the reflecting pool in memory of America’s fallen, starting with those servicewomen who have been lost since the previous Memorial Day. Ceremony participants and members of the public came together in visible tribute for this signature event. It is gratifying to know that something from this ceremony is carried forward and incorporated into such a meaningful program here at the Women’s Memorial on the day when we come together as a nation to honor our fallen from all wars.
“144 military women have lost their lives in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I am honored each year to attend this ceremony and acknowledge the courage and heroism of servicewomen who have made the ultimate sacrifice to save their comrades and others. For our servicewomen in Afghanistan and Iraq will have no Mother’s Day brunches from them, no hugs from their kids. Their assignment, like most of what we ask of our service members, is extremely difficult and tough on their family.
“I had the Honor of introducing Staff Sergeant Jessica Davila United States Marine Corps. Jessica Davila was born in Waco, Texas. She enlisted in August 2004 and immediately reported to recruit training at 4th Recruit Training Battalion, November Company, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C. SSgt Davila embraces and embodies Marine Corps ethos. Throughout her career she has consistently demonstrated the highest level of physical, mental and character discipline. Additionally, she has maintained a consistent state of readiness by successfully operating in billets spanning from Western Europe to the Pacific. Her personal awards are testament to her hard work and dedication. SSgt Davila continues to expand her personal and professional knowledge though education both within and outside of the Marine Corps. She exceptionally represents Marine Corps values and principles.
“Every woman in our Military is adamant that they are there because they believe their presence will improve our own national security and the security of their children. Many servicewomen have lost their lives in protection of our own. We have to continue to make sure they know how we appreciate their service – that we realize their sacrifice and the sacrifice of their families if they do not return home.
“While it is important to pay tribute to our fallen servicewomen, their families and, all who have served our country with words, we also must honor them with our actions. The challenges and needs of service members and veterans may vary, but some things remain constant: our responsibility to provide the necessary care for our returning service members and their families honors the commitment our nation made when we sent them into harm’s way. We cannot waiver on that front.”