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Friday, October 15, 2021

Landmark legislation Davis’ annual Memorial Day ceremony

While the greek community enjoys floating homes on nearby Lake Shasta this weekend, veterans are being honored differently back in Davis.

Members of the Davis Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 6949 are prepping for their annual Memorial Day ceremony, which runs from 10 to 11 a.m. at Davis Cemetery on Pole Line Road. Events will feature keynote speaker Col. Gerald White, a Vietnam War veteran.

Yusuf Amin, a VFW Post 6949 commander, said members of the VFW include war veterans from armed conflicts that include World War II, the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm, among others. Affiliates will help set up the ceremony and place flags on the tombstones of fallen servicemen.

“We’re [like] a community service organization. We’re not just a bunch of guys sitting around telling war stories,” Amin said. “We sponsor different things [such as] scholarships [and have] donated money for war memorials.”

This year’s Memorial Day may prove to be a landmark for women as well. A new bill authored by Rep. Mariko Yamada (D-Davis) passed unanimously in the assembly last Thursday. The bill dedicates the month of May to recognizing the role of female veterans.

“All members of our military deserve praise and recognition, but female veterans often face distinct and increased challenges,” Yamada, a member of the Assembly Veterans Affairs committee, said in a press release.

A staffer in Rep. Yamada’s office said the bill was inspired by reports on the challenges faced by female war veterans, as well as an earlier bill authored by Yamada, AB710, which asked the Department of Veterans Affairs to apply for a federal mental health grant.

The bill’s resolution sheet lists a number of statistics that detail female involvement in the United States military and facts concerning their mistreatment.

According to the statistics listed, California has the highest proportion of female veterans in the country. In addition, 80 percent of servicewomen claimed to have been sexually harassed or to have suffered from sexual trauma at some point during their service.

Today, female military participation has reached new highs. A press release said that Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom have deployed more women than any war in U.S. history. Thirteen percent of those deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan are women.

YARA ELMJOUIE can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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