New York State Office of General Services (OGS) Commissioner RoAnn M. Destito today announced that a program called Women in Vietnam, a conversation highlighting the courageous acts of woman who served during the war, will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 6 in the Empire State Plaza’s Albany Room.
The free event will feature three women who served in Vietnam describing their experiences and recounting the stories of their service. Two panelists were United States Army nurses and one was a civilian volunteer for the American Red Cross. The discussion will include the important contributions that women made to the Vietnam War effort and how their various means of service influenced the role of women in future conflicts.
“The story of military and civilian women who made vital contributions in defense and in support of our nation during the Vietnam War is an important chapter in American history,” Commissioner Destito said. “We are honored to have three women who are willing to share their experiences and ensure we do not forget the heroism and sacrifices of women during wartime. I encourage all to come to the Empire State Plaza on November 6 and hear their stories.”
“Women have always played a critical role in our nation’s military and civilian operations. The impact of their service is often obscured and so, we commend the Office of General Services for shining a spotlight on the contributions of these women during their efforts in Vietnam. We are honored to play a part in elevating the service of these women, and women like them, through the Women in Vietnam program,” said Jim McDonough Jr., Director of the New York State Division of Veterans’ Services.
The event is presented in conjunction with the exhibition 1969 on view in the Vietnam Memorial Gallery of the Robert Abrams Justice Building for Law and Justice through January 2020. Using powerful imagery, archival footage, and artifacts, the exhibit marks the 50th anniversary of an iconic year in U.S. history by exploring seminal events that occurred that year, from war to Woodstock, and from Sesame Street to the moon.
This panel discussion will be led by Beth DeAngelis, Director of the Sister Thea Bowman Center for Woman at Siena College. She will introduce the panelists, moderate the program, and take questions from the audience. The panelists include:
- Joan A. Furey (RN, MA, United States Army Nurse Corp) was awarded the Bronze Star for her work in Vietnam. Furey is the co-author of the book, “Visions of War, Dream of Peace.” She remains active in veterans’ activities through Sayville VFW Post 433.
- Susan O’Neill joined the Army while in nursing school and arrived in Vietnam in 1969. As a published author, she worked on the Oral Histories program at the Brooklyn Historical Society. Her book is titled “It Don’t Mean Nothing: Short Stories of Vietnam.” Having performed folk and protest songs with her guitar in coffee shops and cafes before she enlisted, O’Neill shares her experiences entertaining the troops while in Vietnam.
- Judy Rothman served as a civilian volunteer with the American Red Cross in 1968 and 1969. After war duty, she became a program director and unit director at Chanute Air Force Base Hospital, Rantoul, Ill., and an assistant field director-recreation supervisor at Walter Reed Army Hospital, Washington, D.C. She continues her work as a Red Cross disaster volunteer.
Together, the moderator and the panelists will explore what brought these women to the war, what they learned while serving, and their thoughts on women's roles in war zones today. This educational conversation will highlight the courage of women who served by the thousands and explore the history and the dedication of women who served.
The event will take place from 6 to 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday, November 6 in the Empire State Plaza’s Albany Room, located on the Empire State Plaza’s concourse level, near the entrances to the New York State Capitol and the Robert Abrams Justice Building. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Free parking will be available in the Cathedral and Madison lots on Madison Avenue and in the East Garage on the corners of Madison Avenue, Eagle Street, and Philip Street after 4:30 p.m. Paid parking is also available in the visitor lot underneath the Empire State Plaza.
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