2016 September 7

Woman WW II Veteran Wins Right to Burial at Arlington Cemetary


Elaine D. Harmon, who served in World War II as a  pilot in the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPS, was on this day buried at Arlington Cemetery with full military honors. She died the year before at age 95. After he death, family members found a hand-written letter on cream-colored WASP stationery with her final wish: “I wish to be buried in Arlington Cemetery.

After World War II, WASP veterans had to fight many battles to gain full recognition of their military service. Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, herself a veteran, sponsored the legislation that ensured Harmon’s burial. It passed both houses of Congress unanimously, and was signed into law by President Barack Obama.

Learn more about the creation of the WASPS unit during World War II. And about how they had to fight for retroactive military benefits.

Learn about the WASPS at the Eisenhower Presidential Library: http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/research/online_documents/jacqueline_cochran.html

Learn more: Evelyn Monahan and Rosemary Neidel Greenlee, A Few Good Women: America’s Military Women from World War I to the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (2010)

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