Last month, the city of Springfield unveiled a new memorial that’s dedicated to women veterans. It’s one of only a handful of monuments across the nation that honors women in the U.S. military. KLCC’s Rachael McDonald spoke with two veterans who helped create the memorial.
Debbie Barker and Lois Price both served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. They live in the Springfield area and were part of the Women Veteran’s Memorial committee.
Barker is also chair of the Women Marines Association Chapter in Eugene / Springfield.
“I thought it was nice to have the distinction of our own memorial.” Barker says, “Rather than, I’m also a Vietnam era vet. So, that Vietnam Memorial that’s there is meaningful to me too. But having a women veteran’s memorial is, I think, more meaningful.”
The task of creating such a memorial was not easy. Each branch of the military has different uniforms, different symbols.
“We wanted to honor the women veterans who came before us because they were way back to World War I and beyond.” Price says, “And they actually paved the way for us to actually be able to go into the service. And we wanted it to be for today and we wanted it to be for those who will follow after us.”
Finally, the women found Rip Caswell, a Portland sculptor, who came up with the design of three lionesses.
“I was very impressed with the statue when it was unveiled.” Barker says, “The lioness, the oldest one, who is looking back, she’s got a cut on her ear. She’s not perfect, she’s got a scar across her nose. She’s fought her battles and she’s still there. She won. And we fought our battles and we’ve got scars from it. But we’re still here. ”
Another lioness represents the present. The third stands for the future. The statue is in Springfield’s Willamalane Park. It was unveiled on Veteran’s Day.