What is the purpose of this recognition?
The mission of the Illinois Women’s Military and Civilian Memorial (IWMCM) is to make visible the contributions of Illinois women, both military and civilian, who served with and in support of the armed forces.
What is the Illinois’ Own registry?
A significant part of this project is to establish a registry of current and former Illinois women , who served their country, from the time of the Civil War to present. Illinois historical records about these women are nearly nonexistent. Over 60,000 Illinois women have enlisted in the Armed Forces from the Civil War to present. Many more women veterans have moved here and now call Illinois home. The number of women who served in a civilian capacity is unknown. Our goal is also to incorporate our registry with the Illinois Veterans’ History Project.
How will the women’s service be recognized?
IWMCM believes that the most appropriate place for this recognition is Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois, near the grounds of the Vietnam, Korean, and World War II memorials. The Illinois General Assembly has passed a resolution, authorizing Illinois Women’s Military and Civilian Memorial a site on these grounds.
How will this project be funded?
Various activities will be used to raise funds. All monies, both public and private, will be used in support of our mission to include site preparation and perpetual maintenance of the garden. This will be funded by the generosity of people who share our commitment, to make visible women’s contributions. Our creative efforts will include garden parties, veterans’ special events and individual giving.
Are donations tax-deductable?
Yes, all gifts are tax-deductable under the rules of the Internal Revenue Service.
How do you outreach to the public?
We outreach to the public thru social media. We have developed a website www.iwmcm.org that shares our women’s stories. We have a Facebook page where we network with veterans, families and friends. We are serving as information resource at locations, such as Veteran Job Fairs, State Conventions of Illinois Veteran organizations, and Veteran reunions. We will work with you, as best as we can, to attend any events on behalf of IWMCM.
Why are civilian women included as part of this memorial?
Civilian women played important roles in our country’s armed services history. They experienced the same deprivations as their fellow servicemen and women in war zones.
Why should there be a memorial just for women?
Women have been an integral part of the support of our nation’s roles throughout our history. Our women’s stories need to be recorded and preserved as part of our state’s and our nation’s history. By weaving the women’s presence in partnership with existing memorials, this recognition provides the opportunity to tell a more complete picture.
Do you have support from the veteran community?
Yes. The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, American Legion Dept of Illinois, Vietnam Veterans of America Illinois council, and VietNow have already resolved to support our project. We are in the process of getting support from other veteran and non-veteran organizations.
How did the idea for this memorial come about?
Pam Lovell and Bob Foster, former Director of Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs, met during Veterans Day at the State Fair in 1998. During their conversation the idea of a memorial for women veterans was discussed and planned. Ms. Lovell worked with Rich Lutrell and State Representative Ron Stephens to begin the Illinois Vietnam Women’s Memorial, and a committee was formed. In 2002, the Board of the Illinois Vietnam Women’s Memorial decided to change its name, logo and central focus to include women from the Civil War to present time. And we are now the Illinois Women’s Military and Civilian Memorial.
How was the Board of Directors selected?
All the members of the Board of Directors are either military or civilian veterans or individuals with a sincere interest in fostering this effort in honor of the women who have served our country. All members are volunteers who have given generously of their time and financial resources to launch this project.
When will it be completed? When will construction begin?
This is the beginning of the process. As planning and work progresses, dates for ground breaking and completion will be determined.
What makes this memorial unique? Do you have a design?
This recognition celebrates the service of Illinois women since the Civil War to present. It is an historical and educational recognition meant to honor and to remember the contributions of these special women.
We do have a proposed design, but is subject to change during the approval process. Proposed is a historical garden, of panels, showcasing the history and stories of the Illinois women who served. A replica of a Nightingale lantern will hold an eternal flame, flowers and foliage will be native to Illinois, and a pergola.